Glaucoma is a group of eye conditions that can damage the optic nerve, leading to vision loss and blindness. One of the defining characteristics of glaucoma is elevated intraocular pressure (IOP), which can cause damage to the optic nerve over time. However, there are different types of glaucoma that can present with different symptoms and require different treatments.
Primary Open-Angle Glaucoma (POAG) This is the most common type of glaucoma, accounting for about 70% of cases. POAG occurs when the drainage canals in the eye become clogged, leading to a gradual increase in IOP. It typically develops slowly and painlessly, with no noticeable symptoms until vision loss occurs. Treatment for POAG often begins with eye drops to lower IOP. In some cases, laser or traditional surgery may be recommended.
Angle-Closure Glaucoma (ACG) ACG occurs when the iris (the colored part of the eye) blocks the drainage canals, leading to a sudden increase in IOP. Symptoms can include severe eye pain, nausea, and vomiting, and can require emergency medical attention. Treatment for ACG usually involves laser surgery to create a hole in the iris and allow fluid to flow out of the eye, followed by medications to lower IOP.
Normal-Tension Glaucoma (NTG) NTG is a type of glaucoma that occurs even when IOP is within the normal range. It is thought to be caused by other factors, such as reduced blood flow to the optic nerve or increased susceptibility to damage. Symptoms of NTG can include slow, painless vision loss and changes to the visual field. Treatment may involve eye drops or other medications to improve blood flow to the optic nerve.
It’s important to note that there are other types of glaucoma as well, such as secondary glaucoma, which can be caused by other eye conditions or medications. Additionally, some people may have a combination of different types of glaucoma.
If you are experiencing any symptoms of glaucoma, such as changes in your vision or eye pain, it’s important to schedule an appointment with your eye doctor. They can perform a comprehensive eye exam and determine the best course of treatment for your specific type of glaucoma. With early detection and treatment, it’s possible to slow or even prevent vision loss from glaucoma.