Glaucoma the pressure is increased on the optic

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Glaucoma is more common than the general public may
realize, affecting mainly those who are 40 years of age and over; however, it
can occur at any age.  Glaucoma is a
significant reason that regular eye exams are so important.  Though the disease is not curable, early
detection of Glaucoma is important as it is treatable. Early detection helps to
prevent damage to the optic nerve of the eye, preserving vision.  Glaucoma causes an increase in the pressure,
specifically known as intraocular pressure, of the eye caused by fluid that is
unable to properly drain. This can cause damage the optic nerve. Over time,
this results in diminished vision and can end in blindness. In fact, glaucoma
is the leading cause of blindness in people over 60 years of age.

Glaucoma can be caused in various ways. It can take
the form of a genetic condition and be inherited but other factors can also
increase the chances of developing the condition. Risk factors for Glaucoma are – blood pressure, being
over the age of 40, African or Hispanic heritage, having high eye pressure, are
farsighted or nearsighted, injury to the eye, corneas which are thin in the
center, thinning of the optic nerve, having diabetes or migraines, poor blood
circulation or other health problems which affect the whole body. However, all
people who have high eye pressure will not necessarily develop Glaucoma. Some
optic nerves can tolerate more pressure than others. (National Eye Institute,
Facts about Glaucoma).

There are variations of Glaucoma with two primary
types.  Primary open – angle glaucoma normally
has a slow onset. The fluid in the eye does not drain properly causing damage
over time. As fluid accumulates in the eye, the same amount should drain out.
When the intraocular fluid does not drain properly from the eye the pressure is
increased on the optic nerve causing damage. Often times with open-angle
Glaucoma symptoms would not be noticeable and vision loss would not be apparent
until it is significant. The peripheral vision usually disappears first.

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My first encounter with Glaucoma was with a close
family member who survived a stroke. Strokes can cause pressure on the nerves
in the eye, thus causing the development of Glaucoma.  (ADD MORE HERE OR DELETE)

Angle-closure glaucoma, sometimes known as
“closed-angle or narrow-angle” Glaucoma is caused when the iris is close to the
drainage angle and the drain can develop a total blockage. In this type, immediate
care is needed to prevent severe damage or blindness. Symptoms can include
blurry vision, eye pain, nausea, headaches, and rainbow colored rings and halos
around lights.  

A complete eye exam is the only way to detect
Glaucoma. A complete eye exam checks for the thinness of the cornea, the
thickness of the optic nerve, eye pressure, peripheral vision and the drainage
angle of the eyes. To treat glaucoma, the most common method of relief is
through the use of eye drops. Eye drops help the eye to produce less fluid and/or
help the liquid to drain more easily. In some extreme cases, surgery may become
necessary to reduce pressure. A surgical procedure called Trabeculoplasty is
used to treat open-angle glaucoma by using a laser to make the drainage angle
function efficiently. Iridotomy is a procedure used to treat angle-closure Glaucoma
by creating a tiny hole in the iris to help fluid flow away and avoid a

Glaucoma can affect almost anyone. Regular eye exams are
the most important factor in early detection to help control damage to the
optic nerve. Once the nerve is damaged, it cannot be completely restored.
Awareness of the importance of regular eye exams is the key to maintaining our
vision.  (American College of
Ophthalmology, Boyd, Kierstan, 3/2017)

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