Glaucoma, one of the leading causes of vision loss, involves progressive and irreversible damage to the optic nerve. Fortunately, glaucoma is highly treatable. The key to preventing serious vision loss or blindness from glaucoma is early detection. An annual, fully dilated eye examination is recommended.
There are two basic types of glaucoma. They include:
- Open-angle glaucoma, the most common type that occurs in approximately 90 percent of those who suffer from the disease. This condition can develop gradually and be undetected for years, slowly damaging vision. In early stages of open-angle glaucoma, medicated eye drops are usually prescribed to lower the eye's pressure. If the condition worsens, a laser procedure called a trabeculoplasty is performed to lower pressure further. Laser therapy usually takes approximately 10 minutes and has achieved excellent success rates in select patients.
- Angle-closure glaucoma, which is much more rapid in the onset, affects less than ten percent of glaucoma patients. Symptoms occur suddenly and are much more severe, but vision can be preserved with prompt, effective treatment. The treatment for angle-closure glaucoma, or narrow-angle glaucoma, is generally initiated with laser iridotomy to open the drainage channels of the eye.