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What is Glaucoma and How is it Treated?

You’ve probably heard of glaucoma before. It’s a term that gets thrown around a lot. Most people think that it’s an eye disease, but that’s the extent of their knowledge. However, did you know that glaucoma is a blanket term for a group of conditions that lead to eye disease?

Let’s take a more in-depth look at what exactly glaucoma is and how it’s treated.

What is Glaucoma?

Glaucoma is a medical term used to describe progressive eye conditions that damage the optic nerve. It can seem that glaucoma itself is a disease because, essentially, these conditions lead up to one major condition that contributes to the damage – intraocular pressure (IOP). This pressure is what gets commonly associated with glaucoma, causing it to incorrectly be categorized as a singular condition.

There are different types or categories of glaucoma:

  • Open-angle glaucoma
  • Normal-tension glaucoma
  • Pigmentary glaucoma
  • Acute angle-closure glaucoma
  • Childhood glaucoma
  • Congenital glaucoma (detected in children under the age of three)

The first two don’t usually have symptoms during the early stages of the disease and unfortunately, open-angle glaucoma is the most common type and affects around 90% of people with glaucoma in the United States. This means the disease isn’t treated until significant eye damage has occurred.

Signs of Glaucoma

One of the toughest problems with glaucoma is that it can go unnoticed until it’s too late to reverse the damage. All forms of glaucoma can be characterized by blurry or patchy vision with most of them eventually leading to loss of peripheral vision.

With acute angle-closure glaucoma, symptoms can be painful. It can include severe headaches and eye aches. The person may see colored rings around lights and can experience blurred vision and eye redness.

Pigmentary glaucoma can be irritated by exercise. Those who have it may experience blurred vision during intense physical activity due to small pigment granules flaking off of the iris and increasing eye pressure.

Glaucoma in children is rare. Symptoms to look out for are sensitivity to light, excessive tearing, and one eye that’s larger than the other.

Treating Glaucoma

In most cases, the symptoms of glaucoma aren’t reversible but they can be managed and treated. One of the most common treatment methods is daily eye drops. These drops can lower eye pressure and increase the drainage of fluid.

Laser treatments are also an option. These treatments help drain fluid from the eyes.

Finally, there are a number of surgeries that can help to improve the symptoms of glaucoma. A doctor can recommend the best course of treatment after you’re diagnosed.

Schedule A Consultation

Early detection is the best defense against glaucoma. At Kung Eye Center, our ophthalmologists can provide you with a comprehensive exam as well as any necessary treatment for the disease.

To schedule a consultation today, call our East Brunswick, NJ, or use our online scheduling form.

Request an Appointment

Please call our New York office at (929) 429-2928 or our New Jersey office at (732) 724-2535 with any questions you may have.