Despite how common glaucoma is, there are many misconceptions about the disease. The team at Ophthalmic Consultants of Connecticut meets a lot of patients who are confused about who it affects, what type of symptoms it causes and how it is treated.
Read on as our team sets the record straight on four common misconceptions.
Glaucoma only affects seniors.
Although aging is a risk factor for glaucoma, and the majority of glaucoma cases affect older age groups, people of all ages can get glaucoma. Babies can be born with congenital glaucoma. Children, teenagers and younger adults can develop eye conditions or diseases that lead to secondary glaucoma. Eye trauma or injury can also lead to glaucoma in children, teens and younger adults.
There is only one type of glaucoma.
Actually, there are a few different types of glaucoma. The two primary types of glaucoma are open-angle glaucoma and angle-closure glaucoma. The “angle” refers to the drainage angle, or the junction between the cornea and iris where fluid drains from the eye. In open-angle glaucoma, the angle remains open but less fluid drains through it. As a result, pressure gradually builds up inside the eye, slowly damaging the optic nerve, or the nerve that connects the eye and the brain. In angle-closure glaucoma, the angle closes and fluid cannot drain through the eye at all. There is an immediate spike in pressure that threatens the health of the optic nerve.
Other types of glaucoma include normal tension glaucoma, where the pressure in the eye does not exceed the normal limits, yet the optic nerve becomes damaged. In pigmentary glaucoma, pigment from the iris blocks the drainage angle, impeding the normal exit of fluid from the eye.
If you get glaucoma, you’ll know right away.
The most common form of glaucoma, open-angle glaucoma, develops very slowly and does not produce noticeable symptoms. In fact, glaucoma is often referred to as the “silent thief of sight” because it often progresses undetected until vision loss has occurred. Less common types of glaucoma, like angle-closure glaucoma, arise quickly and cause symptoms such as eye pain, headaches, nausea, vomiting, blurry vision and halos around lights.
Glaucoma can be cured with the right treatment.
Although there are numerous ways to manage glaucoma — medicated eyedrops, laser surgery, and traditional surgery — glaucoma cannot be cured. Doctors can delay or prevent vision loss to glaucoma, but there is no way to reclaim vision that has already been lost.
If you have been diagnosed with glaucoma, our team can help you manage the disease and delay or prevent additional vision loss. For more information, please contact the Ophthalmic Consultants of Connecticut and request a consultation.