What Causes Glaucoma?

As many as 3 million Americans are thought to have glaucoma, a sight-threatening condition of the eyes, yet about half of them have no idea there’s a problem. Glaucoma is a risk for everyone, of any age, and it’s not curable. Generally, there are few symptoms for the disease until its later stages, by which time serious visual impairment or blindness may have already occurred. The only way to protect yourself against glaucoma is regular testing. 

Laser procedures are emerging as an effective treatment for some forms of glaucoma, so a visit to one of IC Laser Eye Care’s offices makes sense for both testing and, if necessary, treatment. Its three locations are in Hamilton, New Jersey, and Bensalem and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. 

What causes glaucoma? 

Glaucoma results from damage to the optic nerve, usually related to increased fluid pressure within your eyes. It’s not fully understood by medical science why these conditions arise, though genetic markers are sometimes identifiable. If others in your family have glaucoma, your risk for the condition is higher. 

How pressure builds

Glaucoma is a collection of eye conditions that result in optic nerve damage, so pressure within your eye isn’t always the reason behind the disease. However, the most common forms of the disease do feature this pressure buildup. 

Your body continuously makes the gel-like liquid that fills your eyes, and an equal amount drains through the trabecular meshwork, a type of tissue that permits fluid drainage at an angle formed by the cornea and iris. Pressure builds whenever the exit of liquid is slower than the rate of its manufacture. 

Open-angle glaucoma

This is the most common form of the disease. The drainage angle remains open, so pressure builds because of problems with the trabecular meshwork. Over time, pressure within your eye gradually increases and eventually damages the optic nerve. 

Closed-angle glaucoma

As the name suggests, the drainage angle is the issue with this form of glaucoma. Some people start with narrow drainage angles that can be more prone to blockage. There are both chronic (the most common) and acute versions of closed-angle glaucoma, with the acute version being a medical emergency, creating symptoms including: 

If you have one or more of these symptoms, contact IC Laser Eye Care immediately, or seek treatment with an emergency room if the symptoms occur outside office hours. 

Normal-pressure glaucoma

Optic nerve damage can happen when your eyes have pressure within normal limits. It’s not known why this happens, but it may be due to problems with the flow of blood supplying the optic nerves. Having a condition that impairs circulation, such as atherosclerosis, may increase your risk. 

There are other forms of glaucoma that occur less frequently, but with the same threats to your vision. Regular eye exams are the only way to assure yourself that you don't have a form of the disease. Contact IC Laser Eye Care by calling the nearest office or by booking an appointment online. Testing is the best way to establish peace of mind about your eyesight, so schedule a session now. 

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