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West Coast Eye Institute



Key Points

  1. Glaucoma is a disease of an optic nerve
  2. The optic nerve is the cord that connects your brain and our eye.
  3. There are many different types of glaucoma.
  4. The impact of glaucoma, it will blurry your peripheral vision and can lead to blindness
  5. Monitoring eye pressure is VERY important in the management of glaucoma.

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Glaucoma refers to a group of conditions that can damage the optic nerve and eventually lead to greatly impaired vision and even blindness. Currently affecting more than three million Americans, glaucoma will often not present any noticeable symptoms during its early stages, so many patients can remain unaware that they have it until their vision begins to worsen. Fortunately, you can help protect your eyesight from the effects of glaucoma by undergoing regular eye exams at our Bakersfield, CA, practice so that we can diagnose the condition and determine the best course of treatment.

Types of Glaucoma

There are two major types of glaucoma.

Primary open-angle glaucoma

This is the most common type of glaucoma. It happens gradually, where the eye does not drain fluid as well as it should (like a clogged drain). As a result, eye pressure builds and starts to damage the optic nerve. This type of glaucoma is painless and causes no vision changes at first.

Some people can have optic nerves that are sensitive to normal eye pressure. This means their risk of getting glaucoma is higher than normal. Regular eye exams are important to find early signs of damage to their optic nerve.

Angle-closure glaucoma (also called “closed-angle glaucoma” or “narrow-angle glaucoma”)

This type happens when someone’s iris is very close to the drainage angle in their eye. The iris can end up blocking the drainage angle. You can think of it like a piece of paper sliding over a sink drain. When the drainage angle gets completely blocked, eye pressure rises very quickly. This is called an acute attack. It is a true eye emergency, and you should call your ophthalmologist right away or you might go blind.

Here are the signs of an acute angle-closure glaucoma attack:

  • Your vision is suddenly blurry
  • You have severe eye pain
  • You have a headache
  • You feel sick to your stomach (nausea)
  • You throw up (vomit)
  • You see rainbow-colored rings or halos around lights

Many people with angle-closure glaucoma develop it slowly. This is called chronic angle-closure glaucoma. There are no symptoms at first, so they don’t know they have it until the damage is severe or they have an attack.

Angle-closure glaucoma can cause blindness if not treated right away.