Are There Different Types Of Glaucoma? | Westlake Eye Specialists

Are There Different Types Of Glaucoma?

Glaucoma is an eye condition that can slowly cause vision loss if left untreated. Unfortunately, there are not many early warning signs or symptoms of glaucoma.

The best way to avoid vision loss from glaucoma is by visiting your eye doctor for routine exams. If your eye doctor detects glaucoma during your routine eye exams, they can develop a treatment plan right away to preserve your eyesight.

Keep reading to learn if there are different types of glaucoma!

What is Open-Angle Glaucoma?

Glaucoma is usually associated with high levels of pressure in the eye. The most common type of glaucoma is open-angle glaucoma.

In open-angle glaucoma, the fluid created inside your eye is unable to effectively drain from the eye due to a partial blockage. Part of this drainage system, called the trabecular meshwork, is supposed to release eye fluid.

If the fluid cannot pass through as fast as it is made, the system gets backed up. This buildup of fluid inside the eye can cause the eye pressure to rise and damage the optic nerve at the back of the eye.

The optic nerve is responsible for sending signals to the brain so you can see. If the optic nerve is damaged, the vision loss will be permanent.

Open-angle glaucoma does many symptoms, and often the only symptom is gradual vision loss. Vision loss is often so slow that you can lose quite a bit of vision before realizing anything is wrong. 

The best way to prevent glaucoma vision loss from glaucoma is by visiting your trained ophthalmologist for routine visits. 

How is Open-Angle Glaucoma Different from Angle-Closure Glaucoma?

The angle of your eye is located where the iris meets the cornea and sclera. In order to reach the drainage channel, the fluid has to travel through this angle.

When this angle is narrow, it is called narrow-angle glaucoma and can prevent the fluid from properly draining from the eye. However, if this angle is completely closed off, it is called angle-closure glaucoma.

Angle-closure can cause very painful and apparent symptoms like eye pain, nausea, vomiting, headaches, and sensitivity to light. If not treated promptly, you may experience permanent vision loss. 

If you notice any of these symptoms, seek urgent care.   

Can You Get Glaucoma with Normal Eye Pressure?

Your eye doctor will first look for abnormally high eye pressure when diagnosing glaucoma. To test your eye pressure, your eye doctor will perform a tonometry test.

However, it is possible to have glaucoma with eye pressure levels within a normal range. This type is normal-tension glaucoma.

Although those with normal-tension glaucoma have a normal eye pressure, the level is still too high for their eye to handle. Eye doctors treat normal-tension glaucoma similar to how they treat open-angle glaucoma to lower the eye pressure.

Does Glaucoma Always Start Naturally?

Medication, chronic inflammation, or an eye injury can sometimes cause glaucoma. Anything that causes the fluid to be unable to drain from the eye normally can cause glaucoma. 

Secondary glaucoma is a type of glaucoma that is due to a rise in pressure that occurs as a side effect of something else.

Does Glaucoma Only Affect Older People?

While age is one of the most significant factors in glaucoma risk, glaucoma can develop in babies and people of all ages. Congenital glaucoma is glaucoma in children whose eyes have not fully or correctly developed the drainage canals. 

It is also possible to develop glaucoma in other stages of life. 

Protect Your Eyes from Glaucoma

While there is currently no cure for glaucoma, you can protect the future of your vision through regular visits to your eye doctor and treatment if needed. 

Do you want to learn more about glaucoma and determine if you are at risk? Schedule an appointment at Westlake Eye Specialists in Austin, TX today!