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What Causes Glaucoma & How to Treat It

Glaucoma is a progressive vision condition that gradually results in a complete loss of vision by damaging the optic nerve — the part of your eye that transmits visual information from the eye to the brain. This damage is typically caused by abnormally high pressure in your eye, although what causes the pressure in your eye to increase isn’t always known. In this brief article, we’ll be reviewing several risk factors which may play a role in whether not you suffer from glaucoma.

The only defense against any type of glaucoma is regular screening as part of a routine eye examination. At Florida Eye Center, we take a comprehensive approach to evaluating and treating glaucoma. An eye doctor in Land O’Lakes from our medical clinic uses specialty instruments and advanced imaging technology in order to accurately measure your eyes’ intraocular pressure and inspect the health of your optic nerves. If you’re over the age of 40 and have not had a glaucoma check within the past three years, please schedule a visit today with one of our physicians.

Related: Types of Glaucoma and Their Treatment Options

The Cause of Glaucoma Differs Depending On Which Type of Glaucoma You Have

Glaucoma is typically caused by a failure of the eye to maintain an adequate balance between the amount of internal fluid produced and the amount that drains away. However, the underlying reasons for this imbalance are dependent upon the type of glaucoma you have. For example, normal-tension or low-tension glaucoma is mainly caused by migraines, Raynaud’s phenomenon, or chronic low vascular perfusion. Something like acute angle-closure glaucoma, on the other hand, is usually caused by pupillary block and plateau iris. For this reason, we’ll be exploring the main types of glaucoma and the primary risk factors associated with each type.

Normal-Tension Glaucoma

Normal-tension glaucoma is a form of glaucoma in which damage occurs to the optic nerve without eye pressure exceeding the normal range. Some of the most common causes of normal-tension glaucoma include the following:

  • Chronic low vascular perfusion: Decreased blood flood in various segments of the eye, such as the retina.
  • Raynaud’s Phenomenon: A disease characterized by a sudden shutting off of the blood supply, particularly to extremities.
  • Migraine: Recurrent throbbing headache that has been associated with a higher risk of open-angle glaucoma, such as normal-tension glaucoma.

Congenital Glaucoma

Congenital glaucoma, also known as pediatric or infantile glaucoma, is a rare type of glaucoma that occurs in babies and young children. It is usually diagnosed within the first year of life. As far as causes go, this condition may either be inherited or occur as a result of the incorrect development of the eyes’ drainage system before birth. Generally speaking, if a baby’s eye cells and tissues don’t grow like they should prior to birth, they can be expected to have problems with drainage after they’re born.

Angle-Closure Glaucoma

Angle-closure glaucoma, also referred to as acute glaucoma or narrow-angle glaucoma, is a type of glaucoma that happens when your iris blocks the drainage angle in your eye. It may be easier to think of it like sliding a piece of paper over a sink drain. Once the drainage angle is completely blocked, eye pressure begins to rise, and this is considered a medical emergency. Some health conditions that have been known to cause angle-closure glaucoma include the following:

  • Cataracts: Certain rare forms of cataracts, a medical condition in which the lens becomes progressively cloudy, can result in elevated eye pressure and damage to the optic nerve.
  • Diabetic Retinopathy: A complication of diabetes that can result in damage to the blood vessels in your retina and a blockage of your eyes’ natural drainage system.
  • Uveitis: Inflammation of the middle layer of the eye that can lead to elevated intraocular pressure.

Other general risk factors for all types of glaucoma include high blood pressure, a family history of glaucoma, old age, previous eye injury, and severe myopia (nearsightedness). As previously stated, there is no known way of preventing glaucoma; however, early diagnosis and treatment can prove beneficial in preventing vision loss. For more information regarding glaucoma treatment in Land O’Lakes, please get in touch with a member of our team at Florida Eye Center.

To schedule a consultation with an eye doctor in Land O’Lakes at the Florida Eye Center, please request an appointment today.

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