Glaucoma is actually a group of eye conditions that cause damage to your optic nerve, mostly due to unusually high pressure in your eyes. It is also one of the leading causes of blindness for adults aged 60 and older, though it can occur at any age, often without warning signs or symptoms. Glaucoma’s effect on your vision is so gradual that you likely won’t notice any vision changes until it reaches an advanced stage, when vision loss cannot be recovered.
Glaucoma is one of many reasons to have your eyes checked regularly. If diagnosed at an early stage, it can be treated, and resulting vision loss can be slowed or even prevented. Just know that if you have glaucoma, you will likely need treatment for the rest of your life. You should also know that glaucoma tends to occur in families. Some infants and children can have glaucoma due to underlying medical conditions or optic nerve damage caused by blocked drainage from the eyes.
Several types of glaucoma
Two main types of glaucoma are called open-angle glaucoma and acute angle-closure glaucoma. Open-angle glaucoma can cause patchy blind spots in your peripheral or central vision, often in both eyes. In its advanced stages, it can cause tunnel vision. The most common symptoms of acute angle-closure glaucoma include severe headaches, eye pain, blurry vision, eye redness, halos around lights, nausea and vomiting. If you experience any of these symptoms, you should see an ophthalmologist or go to the ER as soon as possible.
Other types include normal-tension glaucoma, which can occur in the absence of high pressure within the eyes. Pigmentary glaucoma is caused by a buildup of pigment granules from your iris in the drainage channels, which can slow or block any fluid exiting your eyes.
Other common eye conditions
Strabismus is the medical name for crossed or misaligned eyes, or the inability of the eyes to point in the same direction.
Keratoconus is when the normally round cornea at the front of the eye becomes thin and cone-shaped.
Amblyopia is also called lazy eye and describes poor vision in one eye resulting from inadequate use of the weaker eye during childhood.
Blepharitis is an inflammation of the eyelids. Symptoms can include burning, itching, swelling, eyelid crusting, tearing or blurred vision. Blepharitis is typically caused by problems with oil glands in the eyelids, infections or other skin conditions.
Conjunctivitis is commonly called “pink eye” and presents with eye redness, watering and inflammation of the eye and eyelids. It is extremely contagious and commonly caused by bacterial or viral infections, or environmental irritants.
Dry eye is a condition that occurs when your eyes don’t have enough tears to properly lubricate. You might feel as if there’s something in your eye or a burning sensation.
Uveitis is inflammation of the inner eye called the uvea, which has three parts. The condition affects one or more of the three parts.
Color blindness causes difficulty seeing red, green and blue colors and is often genetic but can be caused by disease, trauma, some medications and aging.
Retinal detachment typically occurs with injury to the eye that causes the light sensitive membrane to separate from nerve tissue and its blood supply.
Many eye diseases have no early symptoms and may be painless. Too often, people do not recognize vision changes until their eye disease has advanced and becomes harder to treat. The best way to protect your vision is through regular professional eye exams.
Contact our Auburn and Dothan Offices at (334) 521-0041 or our Columbus Office at (706) 221-9702 for a comprehensive evaluation and management of your eye health needs.