Vision loss from glaucoma can occur seemingly without warning. This is because most types of glaucoma have no symptoms until permanent damage to the visual field has taken place.
The most common of glaucoma causes is high intraocular pressure (IOP). The condition is caused by the production of too much aqueous fluid or poor drainage of that fluid from the eye and there are no physical symptoms of high eye pressure.
The most common type of glaucoma is primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG) or "chronic glaucoma." This type of glaucoma results in a gradual narrowing of the peripheral vision and if untreated can result in tunnel vision.
The second major type of glaucoma is known as angle-closure or narrow-angle glaucoma. This type varies because it presents itself with symptoms, unlike most other forms of glaucoma. These symptoms can include headaches, eye pain, nausea, vomiting, halos around lights and vision loss.
Other forms of glaucoma include normal-tension glaucoma, congenital glaucoma, pigmentary glaucoma and secondary glaucoma which can affect your vision in various ways but are less frequent than the two major types of the condition.
Eye pressure can increase for anyone but susceptibility increases in African-Americans, people over 40, diabetics, those with a high degree of myopia and those with a family history of high IOP or glaucoma. Because glaucoma rarely has physical symptoms such as pain or headaches, it is extremely important to have regular eye exams to have your IOP level checked.
If your optometrist finds that your IOP is too high and requires treatment it is likely that the first option will be to prescribe medications to try and reduce the pressure. The most common glaucoma treatment is to use prescription eye drops. It is possible that one or more types of these eye drops may be prescribed depending on the type and severity of your glaucoma as well as your general health conditions.
If medication doesn't reduce your IOP into a safe range than you may be eligible for glaucoma surgery. Surgical procedures for glaucoma have the same goal of reducing pressure as medical treatments and the procedure you may require will depend on the type and severity of your condition.
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