It’s estimated that over 3 million Americans have glaucoma, but only about half of them know it. You might be wondering how that’s possible when it comes to a condition that can cause changes in your vision and even vision loss.
Some types of glaucoma cause no symptoms, and someone could live for years before they realize they have it. But the more you know, the better equipped you are to reach out to your doctor when you think something might be wrong.
We’ll walk through the different types of glaucoma and touch on some common symptoms and treatment options. Let’s dive in.
What Are Glaucoma Eye Conditions?
It can be difficult to simply define these eye conditions, and they’re usually classified by multiple symptoms or signs of glaucoma. There are some common factors that lead to a diagnosis of glaucoma.
First of all, glaucoma is a long-term condition and chronic. It doesn’t come and go or only last for a short period of time.
Second, it’s always related to damage to the optic nerve, and it results in changes to your vision. While it may be caused by another condition, glaucoma is a diagnosis in and of itself.
Types of Glaucoma
There are a number of categories and subcategories of glaucoma, but there are four major ways to classify it: primary open-angle glaucoma, angle-closure glaucoma, normal-tension or normal-pressure glaucoma, and secondary glaucoma. There tend to be further classifications even within these categories.
Primary Open-Angle Glaucoma
This type of glaucoma occurs when increased pressure inside the eye damages the optic nerve. Possible causes of this increased pressure can include overproduction of fluid in the eye or reduced draining of fluid.
This is the most common type of glaucoma, and it’s slow to progress. Someone may only start experiencing symptoms years after it develops. One common symptom is reduced peripheral vision.
This type of glaucoma differs from primary open-angle because although it’s also due to high internal pressure, this pressure comes from the physical closing of the drain in the eye.
This prevents fluid from draining and causes the pressure in the eye to rise steadily. Most people will experience extreme pain with this type of glaucoma, and it tends to begin suddenly.
With normal-tension (or normal-pressure) glaucoma, the main damage to the optic nerve is caused by a mix of factors, including but not limited to the increase in eye pressure.
The signs of glaucoma tend to be the same here as for other types of this eye condition.
This classification covers situations where another condition leads to the development of glaucoma. Eye pressure tends to be elevated due to another condition, and this extended period of high pressure causes glaucoma.
How Do You Treat Glaucoma Types?
The most important thing to do when treating glaucoma is to try and lower the pressure in the eye. This can be done through eye drops when it’s caught early or through glaucoma eye surgery.
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Watch Out for Your Eye Health
Now that you know some of the different types of glaucoma and you can recognize the signs and symptoms, you can do what you need to for the health of your eyes. Make sure to reach out to a medical professional if you’re experiencing any eye discomfort or noticing changes in your vision.
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