Glaucoma is the general name for a group of common diseases that affect the eyes and can result in blindness if not diagnosed and treated promptly.
The different types of glaucoma include acute-closed-angle glaucoma, which develops suddenly and chronic open-angle glaucoma, which develops slowly over a period of years.
Chronic open-angle glaucoma is the most common form of glaucoma and is due to gradually increasing pressure inside the eye (intraocular pressure). Increased intraocular pressure inside the eye results from a malfunctioning canal that does not allow the clear fluid inside the eye to drain properly. The high pressure inside the eye can eventually damage the optic nerve leading to permanent vision loss and eventually blindness. There may be no symptoms in early stages of chronic open-angle glaucoma, but without treatment, the damage to the optic nerve result in blind spots, which progressively become bigger until blindness occurs.
Acute closed-angle glaucoma is less common than chronic open-angle glaucoma and is a medical emergency. Acute closed-angle glaucoma is the result of a sudden and severe increase in intraocular pressure due to a blockage by the iris, the colored part of the eye. Symptoms of acute closed-angle glaucoma occur suddenly and can rapidly lead to blindness if not treated emergently. Symptoms include blurred vision and severe eye pain. For more information on symptoms and complications, refer to symptoms of glaucoma.
Glaucoma can affect anyone, but some factors contribute to the risk of developing the condition. These include a family history of diabetes or glaucoma or being nearsighted or being over age 60. People of African ancestry who are over the age of 40 years are also at risk for developing glaucoma.
Glaucoma is diagnosed through a combination of taking a medical history, including symptoms, and eye examination by an ophthalmologist, a physician who specializes in eye care. The eye examination can include a variety of tests. These include a visual acuity test to check the sharpness of vision. A visual acuity test involves reading an eye chart located at a specific distance across the room.
A visual field test checks sight on the peripheral (side) areas of vision. A tonometry test that measures pressure inside the eye is performed using an instrument called a tonometer. The ophthalmologist will also use eye drops to enlarge the pupil of the eye so that he and she can look directly into the eye with an instrument called an ophthalmoscope and see the retina and optic nerve.
A gonioscopy test may also be done. In this test a special lens is placed on the eye to examine the channel in the eye that drains eye fluid to see if it has become blocked or has other abnormal changes.
Because there are often no symptoms in early stages of glaucoma, a diagnosis can be delayed or missed. In addition, symptoms of glaucoma can be similar to symptoms of other diseases or conditions. For more information on misdiagnosis and diseases and conditions that can mimic glaucoma, refer to misdiagnosis of glaucoma.
Treatment of glaucoma varies depending on the specific type of glaucoma and can include medication and laser surgery. For more information on treatment, refer to treatment of glaucoma. ...more »
Glaucoma is an eye disease causing gradual peripheral vision degradation.
It is not as strongly caused by diabetes as is diabetic retinopathy.
However, glaucoma is still somewhat more common
in diabetics and both diabetes and diabetic retinopathy are risk factors for glaucoma.
Glaucoma can also occur in an acute form called - acute close angle glaucoma - which is an ophthalmic emergency. ...more »
Symptoms of glaucoma vary depending on the specific type of glaucoma: chronic open-angle glaucoma or acute closed-angle glaucoma.
There are generally no symptoms in the earliest phases of the development of chronic open-angle glaucoma, the most common form of glaucoma. As pressure builds up inside the eye (Increased intraocular pressure), it gradually damages ...more symptoms »
The first step in the treatment of glaucoma is the prevention of progression of the disease and permanent serious complications, such as blindness. This includes seeking regular eye care throughout the lifetime. This can help detect chronic open-angle glaucoma in early stages before symptoms appear. In addition, it is vital to seek immediate emergency medical ...more treatments »
Symptoms of glaucoma can be similar to symptoms of other diseases or conditions, such as macular degeneration, cataracts, diabetic retinopathy, migraine headache, uveitis, and stroke.
In addition, because most people have no symptoms of chronic open-angle glaucoma in the early stages, a diagnosis is easy to miss or delay. Because chronic open ...more misdiagnosis »
Symptoms of Glaucoma
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Types of Glaucoma
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Misdiagnosis and Glaucoma
Alzheimer's disease over-diagnosed: The well-known disease of Alzheimer's disease
is often over-diagnosed.
Patients tend to assume that any memory loss or forgetulness symptom might be Alzheimer's,
whereas there are...read more »
Dementia may be a drug interaction: A common scenario in aged care is for
a patient to show mental decline to dementia.
Whereas this can, of course, occur due to various medical...read more »
Tremor need not be Parkinson's disease: There is the tendency to believe that
any tremor symptom, or shakiness, means Parkinson's disease.
The...read more »
Rare diseases misdiagnosed as Parkinson's disease: A rare genetic
disorder is often misdiagnosed as Parkinson's disease for men in their 50's.
The disease Fragile X disorder can show only mild...read more »
Vitamin B12 deficiency under-diagnosed: The condition of Vitamin B12 deficiency
is a possible misdiagnosis of various conditions, such as multiple sclerosis (see symptoms of multiple...read more »
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Prognosis for Glaucoma:
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Prevention of Glaucoma
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Article Excerpts about Glaucoma
Genes and Disease by the National Center for Biotechnology (Excerpt)
"Glaucoma" is a term used for a group of diseases that can lead to damage to the eye's optic nerve and result in blindness.
(Source: Genes and Disease by the National Center for Biotechnology)
Keep your eyes healthy: NIDDK (Excerpt)
Glaucoma (glaw-KOH-muh) starts from pressure building up in the eye.
Over time, this pressure damages your eye's main nerve--the optic nerve.
The damage first causes you to lose sight from the sides of your eyes. (Source: excerpt from Keep your eyes healthy: NIDDK)
Aging -- Women Getting Older: NWHIC (Excerpt)
Glaucoma is another common eye disease. This is the result of too much
fluid pressure inside the eye. It can lead to vision loss and blindness.
The cause of glaucoma is unknown. African-American women over the age of
forty are at particular risk for glaucoma, as are all women over 60. If
treated early, glaucoma often can be controlled and blindness prevented.
To find glaucoma, the eye doctor will look at your eyes through dilated
pupils. Treatment may be prescription eye drops, oral medications, or
surgery. Most people with glaucoma have no early symptoms or pain from
increased pressure. (Source: excerpt from Aging -- Women Getting Older: NWHIC)
Aging and Your Eyes -- Age Page -- Health Information: NIA (Excerpt)
Glaucoma results from too much fluid pressure inside the eye. It
can lead to vision loss and blindness. The cause of glaucoma is unknown.
If treated early, glaucoma often can be controlled and blindness
prevented. To find glaucoma, the eye doctor will look at your eyes through
dilated pupils. Treatment may be prescription eye drops, oral medications,
or surgery. Most people with glaucoma have no early symptoms or pain from
increased pressure. (Source: excerpt from Aging and Your Eyes -- Age Page -- Health Information: NIA)
Definitions of Glaucoma:
Increased pressure in the eyeball due to obstruction of the outflow of aqueous humor.
- (Source - Diseases Database)
Increased pressure in the eyeball due to obstruction of the outflow of aqueous humor; damages the optic disc and impairs vision (sometimes progressing to blindness)
- (Source - WordNet 2.1)
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