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Understanding Glaucoma

One of the min causes of blindness in America, glaucoma is a group of eye diseases that can damage the optic nerve (responsible for transmitting visual information from the eyes retina to the brain), causing loss of vision. If glaucoma is treated early, preservation of remaining vision is possible.

How Glaucoma Effects Your Vision

The optic nerve located in the back of your eye, consists of more than 1 million tiny nerve fibers. Connecting the retina to the brain, the optic nerve conveys the visual images gathered and transmits the information to the brain for interpretation. The optic nerve may become damaged as a result of glaucoma is 2 primary categories: open angel glaucoma and closed angle glaucoma.

Open Angle Glaucoma

In the area representing the front of the eye known as the anterior chamber, a clear fluid flows in and out of the chamber continuously with the purpose of nourishing the nearby tissues. As the clear fluid leaves the chamber traveling to the open angel where the cornea and retina meet, it passes through a spongy meshwork serving as a drain. If the fluid reaches the angle and passes through the meshwork drain too slowly, buildup of fluid may change the pressure in the eye causing damage to the optic nerve. The damage to vision as a result of open angle glaucoma is more gradual, compromising clear healthy vision over time. Open angle glaucoma is the more common category glaucoma, accounting for nearly 90% of glaucoma cases in the US.

Closed Angle Glaucoma

Less common (impacting nearly 10% of all glaucoma cases), closed angle glaucoma may onset without warning and may present pain and other discomforting symptoms. Closed angle glaucoma occurs when the path of travel for the clear fluid is blocked due to collapse or interference. Do to this abstraction; the pressure in the eye is severely increased, causing damage to the eye. The pain experienced in this category of glaucoma is often tremendous and individuals often seek medical emergency attention. By seeking the emergency medical attention, intervention of the damage can be prevented from advancing to blindness. Once vision is lost due to glaucoma, restoring vision is not possible; however preserving remaining vision is possible through glaucoma treatment, laser surgery, and possibly conventional surgery.