Causes and Symptoms of Glaucoma

There are over 40 different kinds of glaucoma. The common denominator among them is damage to the optic nerve with visual disturbance. The damage may occur due to elevated intraocular pressure (IOP) or even at “normal” pressure ranges (normal tension glaucoma—NTG). Some people may have IOP above normal and yet develop no nerve damage (ocular hypertension), while others may have normal IOP with associated optic nerve damage (NTG), as noted above.

 

Symptoms of Glaucoma

Glaucoma can progress without signs or symptoms until advanced, irrevocable visual loss occurs. The pattern of loss usually begins in the periphery where it is not noticed and encroaches on central vision over time. If not treated, irreversible visual loss, including total blindness, can result.

Open-Angle Glaucoma

Open-angle glaucoma often has no symptoms until after vision loss has occurred. It is a leading cause of blindness, but if caught early it can be controlled. If you are African-American, have a relative with glaucoma, are diabetic or very nearsighted, you should have your eye pressure checked every year.

Narrow-Angle Glaucoma

Narrow-angle glaucoma is rarer and is very different from open-angle glaucoma in that eye pressure usually goes up very fast. There may be a feeling of fullness in the eye along with reddening, swelling and blurred vision. If not treated promptly, this glaucoma produces blindness in the affected eye in 3 to 5 days.

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