Glaucoma is a common disorder of the optic nerve that gradually decreases vision. With treatment, vision loss can be slowed, and sight can be preserved.
There are two basic types of glaucoma. Open-angle glaucoma is the most common form and is associated with aging. As a person ages, the eye's drainage apparatus may not work as it should. This causes the intraocular pressure to increase gradually, slowly damaging the optic nerve and impairing the peripheral vision. Typically there are no early warning signs of this type of glaucoma, but after a long period of time, peripheral vision problems are noticed.
In narrow-angle (or angle-closure) glaucoma, the eye pressure is normal until the drainage apparatus becomes suddenly blocked. The intraocular pressure rises quickly requiring immediate treatment to prevent blindness. Patients may notice headache or brow ache, blurred vision, colored haloes around light, severe eye pain, nausea, and vomiting.
A comprehensive evaluation for glaucoma includes an exam of the ocular structures and diagnostic testing, including automated visual field testing, stereoscopic disc photography, and computerized optic disc and retinal nerve fiber layer analysis. Medical, laser, and conventional surgical techniques are used as needed to provide treatment for glaucoma.