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Glaucoma by the iris that bunches up over the drainage canals. What is glaucoma? Another type is Angle Closure Glaucoma which blocks the drainage canals like a clogged sink. This type of Glaucoma affects the iris which in turn affects the pupils ability to let in the proper amount of light. Glaucoma is a disease of the eye caused by a failure in the drainage system so that intraocular pressure builds up. This pressure in turn causes pressure on the optic nerve. The damage to the optic nerve can cause blindness or progressive visual field losses (side vision). It is often called “Sneak Thief of Sight” because it has no warnings and no symptoms until it has progressed to the point of stealing site. This condition is progressive and has no cure, but can be controlled by medicine and surgery. Glaucoma affects 1 and every 30 Americans over age 40. Are there different types of Glaucoma? Glaucoma can take several different forms, but it can be classified into two main types. Open Angle and Narrow Angle/Angle Closure. Open Angle accounts for over 90% of all cases. It affects the angle between the iris and cornea making it open which will affect drainage of the Aqueous Humor. It Chronic and progresses slowly. Narrow Angle occurs when the angle where Aqueous humor drains slowly or risks becoming closed. B In Open-angle glaucoma the drainage canals become clogged over time. These clogs occur deep in the drainage canals. In contrast, Angle Closure Glaucoma is caused by a sudden rise in intraocular pressure. This can happen when the drainage canals are blocked or covered, usually Normal Tension Glaucoma happens when the optic nerve is damaged despite having normal pressure. This type of Glaucoma can affect people of Japanese ancestry, people with a history of normal tension glaucoma, and heart disease. This type of glaucoma typically affects the fields near the central fields. Traumatic Glaucoma occurs due to blunt type trauma (getting hit by a tennis ball). The Iris ciliary body trabecular meshwork and lens zonules can be damaged leading to glaucoma. In other words, this meshwork damage can change the canal’s angle which will block drainage. Neo Vascular Glaucoma (diabetic) This occurs when the blood vessels of the retina are blocked due to diabetic factors. This can eventually result in the forming of abnormal blood vessels. This type affects 2% of all diabetics, and makes up 1/3 of all Glaucoma cases. Pedatric Glaucoma is Glaucoma that affects children. It can be congenital (at birth), occur between the ages of two and three, or in the juvenile years. Who is most at risk for this disease? Anyone can develop glaucoma, but some people are at higher risk. These people include: African Americans over age 40. Everyone over age 60, especially Mexican Americans People with a family history of glaucoma. Glaucoma can affect everyone at all ages. It is important to have your pressure checked. What are the symptoms of Glaucoma? At first this condition is not noticed and is very painless. The only type it is noticed is when the patient starts having significant vision loss in the side fields. The way to test for glaucoma is at the eye doctor with a device called tonometer which tests the pressure in the eye. Persons should get a regular update at the eye care specialists. How is Glaucoma detected? Glaucoma is detected through an internal pressure exam with a device known as a tonometer which detects eye pressure. comprehensive eye exam that includes: Visual acuity test. Visual field test. Dilated eye exam. Tonometry. Pachymetry. Are children ever at risk? Yes, congenital, infantile, juvenile, and all secondary glaucoma occur in the pediatric age group. Symptoms can be hard to recognize, but treatment is very important to catch pediatric glaucoma early in order to prevent blindness. What is the treatment for Glaucoma? Glaucoma can be treated primarily through surgery or medicines. Medicines are tried before surgery. Some medications include: > beta blockers like timoptic. >Carbonic Anhydrase Inhibitors like Acetazolamide >Alfa-2 Agonists like Laphgan Bibliography Cassin, Barbara and Melvin L. Rubin, M. D. Glaucoma. Dictionary of Eye Terminology, 5th ed. Triad Publishing Company, 2006. Fekrat, Sharon, M.D. and Jennifer S. Weizer, M.D. , Editors, All About Your Eyes, Duke University Press, 2006. Glaucoma. Retrieved on July 25, 2010. http://www.glaucoma.org/learn/types.php Harmon, Gregory. What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About: Glacoma The Essential Treatments and Advances That Could Save Your Sight. Warner Books, 2004. McClain, Bonny. Glaucoma. The Gale Encyclopedia of Medicine, ed.Jacqueline L. Longe. 3rd ed. Detroit: Gale, 2006, vol. 5.