Glaucoma is a leading cause of irreversible blindness in the United States, and it currently affects more than three million Americans. Glaucoma is an umbrella term referring to a cluster of related eye conditions that cause damage to the optic nerve, which sends visual signals from your eye to your brain.
It is usually related to eye pressure, but there are several different categorizations of glaucoma. Let’s talk about the various types of glaucoma, and where you can go to receive high-quality vision care here in Greater St. Louis.
Main Types of Glaucoma
Ophthalmologists have divided glaucoma into two main categories, based on (1) the appearance and (2) the degree of obstruction in your eye’s drainage pathways. Both types of glaucoma have the word “angle” in their names, and the angle pertains to the circular zone of your eye – where the cornea (the clear front wall of your eye) meets the iris (the colored part of your eye).
Open-angle glaucoma – the most common type – is a progressive condition caused by partial blockage of the drainage canals. The partial blockage leaves a wide, open-angle between your iris and your cornea, thus its designation “open-angle.”
Since open-angle glaucoma causes peripheral vision loss, most people with this condition do not feel any symptoms or notice a change in their eyesight at first. However, for those who do, they typically notice patchy blind spots. People with advanced stages of open-angle glaucoma experience tunnel vision.
Angle-closure glaucoma, also referred to as closed-angle glaucoma or narrow-angle glaucoma occurs when your iris bulges forward. This bulging obstructs the drainage angle, thereby preventing fluid from circulating and draining properly, causing pressure buildup.
Unlike open-angle glaucoma, this type develops quickly and has very noticeable symptoms. The severe, sudden nature of the condition warrants immediate medical attention and prompt treatment.
When you have angle-closure glaucoma, you will likely experience the following symptoms:
- Blurred vision
- Eye pain and redness
- “Halos” around lights
- Nausea and vomiting
- Severe headache
Subtypes of Glaucoma
Each of the main types of glaucoma has its own possible variant, which is also classified according to whether it has a known underlying cause:
In primary glaucoma, there is no known cause. Incidentally, experts still have not been able to identify the exact causes of the main types themselves.
Conditions that fall within the secondary glaucoma variant do have an underlying cause, such as another health disorder, an injury within the eye, a tumor, or certain medications. Examples of secondary glaucoma include steroid-induced glaucoma and traumatic glaucoma.
Expert Glaucoma Care in Eastern Missouri
Your eyesight is what allows you to enjoy the beauty of the world you live in, so don’t let glaucoma steal it from you. If you want to seek glaucoma care or just want to be proactive about your eye health, partner with our experienced medical team here at Advanced Sight Center in Washington and Missouri.
If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment with one of our eye doctors, call our office in Washington at (636) 239-1650. You can also fill out our easy-to-use appointment request form online now. We look forward to seeing you!