What Is Glaucoma?

What Is Glaucoma?

Glaucoma is an eye disease that develops when the optic nerve becomes damaged.  It has an adverse effect on vision and can lead to full blindness if left untreated.  It is very often symptomless in the early stages which means many people do not even realise they have it.  In this article I will be providing you with the latest glaucoma statistics and discussing the main forms of this eye disease.

Glaucoma Statistics

  • Approximately 2.2 million Americans are believed to have glaucoma.
  • Approximately 50% of these Americans do not know they have glaucoma.
  • Glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness worldwide behind cataracts.

Open Angle Glaucoma

Open angle glaucoma is the most common form of this eye disease and is responsible for over 90% of reported glaucoma cases.  It gets its name because the angle between the cornea and the iris remains naturally open and wide in sufferers.  Open angle glaucoma develops when the drainage canals in the eyes gradually get blocked.  This causesfluid pressure to build up in the eyes and ultimately damages the optic nerve.  However, since this build up is gradual the damage often goes unnoticed until the glaucoma becomes more advanced.

Other Types Of Glaucoma

As mentioned above, open angle glaucoma accounts for more than 90% of reported glaucoma cases worldwide.  The remaining 10% are made up of the following types:

Angle Closure Glaucoma:- Angle closure glaucoma gets its name because the angle between the cornea and the iris becomes unnaturally closed and narrow in sufferers.  It develops when the draining canals become blocked very suddenly.  This leads to a rapid build-up of fluid pressure in the eyes which then damages the optic nerve.  Since the pressure builds up rapidly, the damage caused by angle closure glaucoma is often noticeable in the very early stages.

Congenital Glaucoma:-Congenital glaucoma (also referred to as childhood, infantile or pediatric glaucoma) gets its name because it occurs in babies and children within their first five years of life.  It develops when the child’s eyes drainage system does not function properly as a result of a birth defect or inheritance.  This leads to fluid pressure building up in the eye and ultimately damaging the optic nerve.

Normal Tension Glaucoma:- Normal tension glaucoma (also known as NTG and normal pressure glaucoma) gets its name because the fluid pressure in the eye remains normal in sufferers.  It is not known why this type of glaucoma develops in certain people with normal eye fluid pressure and not others.

Summary

I hope this article has helped you learn a little more about glaucoma.  To catch glaucoma as early as possible you need to be going for regular eye tests.  Additionally, make sure you are leading a healthy, active lifestyle.  Good foods and regular exercise can go a long way towards preventing this eye disease.

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