Glaucoma is a disease of the eye that damages vision and, if left untreated, can lead to complete blindness. It is the second most common cause of blindness in the world and it affects 1 in 200 people aged under 50. The main type of glaucoma has very few symptoms and is not usually noticed until it has caused a significant vision loss. It slowly reduces the vision in the eye and occurs gradually over time. The lost vision can never be recovered, but treatment is possible if the condition is detected early enough. Unfortunately, in some cases it is only possible to slow the progression of the disease.
What causes glaucoma?
In basic terms most cases of glaucoma are caused by increased pressure in the fluid of the eye which damages the optic nerve. However, there are 2 main types of glaucoma and they both have slightly different causes and signs.
The main type of glaucoma is Open angle and it progresses slowly without many signs or symptoms. It is caused by a blockage in the microscopic outflow channels of the eye. The fluid in the eye can no longer drain and the pressure begins to build up in the eye. This causes gradual vision loss that begins with the peripheral vision.
Closed angle glaucoma occurs when there is contact between the iris and the network of microscopic outflow channels. This contact can damage these channels and, in turn, block the fluid from draining from the eye and the pressure rises. If scars are formed on these channels complete blockage may occur, which causes symptoms such as blurry vision, headache and vomiting. If you are concerned about your vision consult a qualified optometrist.