A glaucoma is a group of eye conditions that damage the optic nerve due to abnormally high pressure in the eye. It is a common cause of blindness among older adults above 60 years, but it can occur at any age. Most forms of glaucoma develop gradually and have no warning signs; therefore, you may not notice any vision changes until at an advanced stage of the condition. For this reason, regular eye exams are essential to diagnose glaucoma San Antonio during its early stages, when vision loss can be slowed or prevented,

What causes glaucoma?

Your eyes constantly make aqueous humor; as new fluid flows into your eyes, the same amount should drain out. The aqueous humor drains out through a tissue called the trabecular meshwork – the angle where the iris and cornea meet. The intraocular pressure remains stable as the internal fluid drains out and the eyes make new aqueous humor. However, the eye pressure increases when the eyes produce excess fluid or when the drainage angle is not working properly, and fluid can’t drain out at a reasonable rate.

The increased pressure in the eye can cause the optic nerve to deteriorate, gradually causing blind spots in your vision field. When all the optic nerve fibers die, you become blind.

Types of glaucoma

Primary open-angle glaucoma

Open-angle glaucoma is the most common form of the disease; it develops due to problems in the drainage angle formed by the iris and the cornea; instead of draining fluid at the usual rate, the aqueous drains like a clogged drain. As a result, pressure builds up inside your eyes, causing the optic nerve to deteriorate gradually.

Most people with this type of glaucoma feel no pain and do not notice vision changes at first. Your risk of developing open-angle glaucoma may be higher if your optic nerves are sensitive to normal eye pressure. If you have the advanced form of this condition, you may have patchy blind spots in your side or central vision; this may affect both eyes.

Angle-closure glaucoma

Angle-closure glaucoma occurs due to a blockage in the drainage angle formed by the iris and cornea. Sometimes the iris can bulge forward to narrow or block the drainage angle, causing an increase in eye pressure. Angle-closure glaucoma may develop suddenly or gradually; if you suddenly have severe headaches, eye pain, nausea and vomiting, and blurred vision, seek emergency help.

Normal-tension glaucoma

Normal-tension glaucoma occurs when your optic nerves deteriorate even when your eye pressure is within the normal range. There is no exact cause of normal-tension glaucoma, but it may develop if you have a sensitive optic nerve or insufficient blood flow to the optic nerve. Limited blood supply to the optic nerve may be caused by a build-up of fatty deposits in the arteries or other conditions that impede blood circulation.

You are more likely to develop glaucoma if there is a history of the problem in your family, you have used steroid medications for a long time, or you have conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure.

If you are at risk of glaucoma, book a session with your specialist at Alamo Eye Care for eye screening to establish if your eye pressure is within the normal range.