THERE ARE FOUR
MAIN TYPES OF GLAUCOMA
Glaucoma is a build-up of pressure in the eye that damages the optic nerve.
Chronic open-angle glaucoma – This is the most common form of glaucoma. Pressure within the eye increases when the tubes that allow fluid to flow naturally from the eye become slightly blocked. Often there are no early symptoms, and many people are diagnosed at a regular eye examination. Possible signs include tunnel vision, and a gradual loss of peripheral (side) vision.
Acute angle-closure glaucoma – This often occurs rapidly, with a sudden and more acute blockage to the flow of fluid from the eye. It can be accompanied by severe pain, altered vision (especially in dim light) and blurriness or halos around lights. Other signs include red eyes, headaches, nausea and vomiting.
Secondary glaucoma – an increase in eye pressure can also result from other eye conditions, or from an eye injury, operation or medication.
Developmental glaucoma (congenital glaucoma) – This is usually present at birth or shortly after. The child might not want to open their eyes in the light, and the eye may look cloudy or teary. It is rare, but can be serious, as it is caused by an abnormality of the eye.
Glaucoma can’t be cured, but it can be managed. If left untreated it can cause permanently damaged vision.
For open-angle glaucoma, there are different ways to slow down the pressure build-up to minimize damage: eye drops, oral medication, surgery (including laser surgery) and drainage implants. Closed-angle glaucoma is a medical emergency that must be dealt with immediately to prevent permanent blindness. Eye care specialists will work with patients to manage other types of glaucoma.