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by the iris that bunches up over the drainage
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 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
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
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
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 can affect everyone
at all ages. It is important to
have your pressure checked.
What are the symptoms of
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
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.
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 can be treated primarily through
surgery or medicines. Medicines are tried
before surgery. Some medications include:
> beta blockers like timoptic.
>Carbonic Anhydrase Inhibitors like
>Alfa-2 Agonists like Laphgan
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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.
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.