Cataracts are an eye disease that manifests itself in different ways. Although it is usually associated with high pressure in the eye, the truth is that there are types of glaucoma with normal eye pressure.
That said, however, all types of glaucoma are chronic and degenerative. This means that they will develop if left untreated, and will culminate in optic nerve damage. The worst result of the process is blindness due to the destruction of the system that perceives images and sends the information to the brain.
Diagnosis of glaucoma
One of the problems with being able to diagnose glaucoma early is that it has no clear signs in the beginning. A person can spend years developing ocular hypertension without knowing it at all.
To confirm this condition, intraocular pressure must be measured. This is a procedure the ophthalmologist performs with the right equipment. Although they will take a measurement when there are symptoms, they can also do it routinely in certain at-risk patients who do not yet have the disease.
Risk factors for all types of glaucoma
There are people who are at higher risk of developing some form of glaucoma. In these patients, it is important to pay attention to the first signs, as well as to measure the intraocular pressure in adulthood.
A fundamental factor is that the risk increases with age. Adults over the age of 40 gradually increase their chances of developing the disease as they get older.
Family history is also an indicator. If a parent has had glaucoma of any kind, it is likely that one of their children will also get it. However, they do not get it in childhood, but later as adults.
The association with other eye diseases is also important. Myopia is a risk factor for glaucoma. Researchers estimate that myopic patients are twice as likely to increase intraocular pressure as the rest of the population.
The most common types of glaucoma
As reported by the National Eye Institute, there are 4 common types of glaucoma. They are classified according to the way in which drainage of fluid from the eyeball is prevented and when they appear.
This is the most common type of glaucoma in the world. What happens is that it blocks the small openings that the eye uses to remove the inner fluid. Because the fluid accumulates without any way out, the intraocular pressure increases.
Its progression is very slow, chronic and degenerative. Patients tend to detect it late, after some of the damage has already occurred. Because of this , it is often called silent blindness.
Treatment ranges from medication to surgery. There are also different surgical options that your ophthalmologist will choose.
Angle block glaucoma
Angular block glaucoma is much less common than open-angle glaucoma. In addition, it tends to develop symptoms more acutely and more noticeably than the previous type.
The name angle block corresponds to the measurement ophthalmologists make of the angle formed by the iris and cornea. In this case, this value is less than what is considered normal, and it is precisely this altered anatomy that blocks the natural drainage of fluid from the eye.
Medical treatment for this disorder must be prompt. It gives less time to act than open-angle glaucoma, and the consequences can be more serious if you do not act quickly.
Normal pressure glaucoma
This type of glaucoma is the rarest. When the ophthalmologist measures the patient’s intraocular pressure, it is at normal or even low values.
The damage to the optic nerve and degeneration is there, as with the other types. Scientists do not know the cause of this type of glaucoma with certainty, and treatment is difficult.
The congenital variant of the disease appears because the baby is born with an anomaly in the angle of the iris and cornea, which prevents normal development of the intraocular fluid drainage channels. So from the beginning of life, the eye increases the inner pressure.
The solution today is an early operation on the small child. That way, you can avoid serious future complications.
All types of glaucoma are serious
Although different, each type of glaucoma is serious. If you have symptoms of vision loss, you should not delay seeing an ophthalmologist.
Your doctor will measure your intraocular pressure and perform several procedures to evaluate the vitality of your retina and optic nerve. If they notice a change, they may suggest the use of medication and, if necessary, corrective surgery.