Different Types of Glaucoma

Glaucoma is a group of eye conditions that have many similar characteristics. Each increases the pressure in the eye and causes gradual sight loss due to optic nerve damage.

There are many different types of glaucoma. It is the leading cause of blindness It affects one person in every two hundred over the age of fifty, and one in ten of every person that is over the age of eighty. Glaucoma is known as the “silent thief of sight” because it is a progressive condition that causes loss of sight slowly over time. The symptoms of glaucoma do not become present until the disease is in the advanced stages.

The common denominator of all types of glaucoma is the characteristic damage to the optic nerve. This damage, if left untreated, leads to blindness. Ten percent of those that are treated properly still may lose their vision as a result of this condition. Glaucoma may be developed by anyone at any age, but aging does increase your risk.

Most Common Types of Glaucoma

The various types of glaucoma can be placed into two categories. There is “open angle” glaucoma and “closed angle” glaucoma. These types of glaucoma cause an increase in intraocular pressure in the eye (IOP), or the pressure inside the eye. All glaucoma are a variation of either “open” or “closed” angle glaucoma.

  • “Open-angle” glaucomarefers to the angle where the iris (the colored area of the eye) meets the cornea where the fluid of the eye drains. This “open angle” is as wide and open as it is supposed to be.  Open-angle glaucoma is also known as primary or chronic glaucoma because it develops slowly over time. The drainage canals of the eye slowly become clogged and cause an increase in the pressure in the eye.   This is the most common type of glaucoma.
    • Pigmentary  glaucoma is an “open angle”  secondary type of eye condition.  The colored pigment granules in the iris mix into the clear fluid of the eye. These granules slowly clog the drainage canals and increase the pressure in the eye. This can lead to damage to the optic nerve.
    • Pseudoexfoliative Glaucoma   is an “open angle” secondary type of eye condition.  This condition occurs when the outer layer of the lens becomes dry and flaky. These flakes clog the drainage canals and increase the pressure in the eye and this can lead to optic nerve damage.
  • “Closed angle” glaucoma is the result of the narrowing of the angle between the iris and cornea. It is    also called acute glaucoma, or narrow-angle glaucoma, because the narrowing occurs abruptly and the symptoms require immediate medical attention.

Other Types of Glaucoma

There is a third type of glaucoma, known as “normal pressure” or “low tension” glaucoma. This type of glaucoma causes damage to the optic nerve without an increase in pressure in the eye. Researcher has not found a reason for the cause of the damage to the optic nerve at such low levels, but studies continue to explore why damage to the optic nerve occurs.

“Normal pressure” glaucoma is treated the same as the other glaucomas at the present time, decreasing the pressure in the eye.

Secondary glaucoma refers to any condition that contributes to an increase in eye pressure and causes damage to the optic nerve. This condition could be a disease, an injury, a growth, or even a trauma to the eye.

Eyesight & Safety

It is important that if you are over 60 years of age to have a complete eye exam every two years, with eye dilatation, to prevent glaucoma from taking your sight.

Safety is always a concern if a senior’s eyesight is worsening, especially if the senior lives alone. A senior living community may provide the peace of mind for not only the senior, but the entire family knowing that there is assistance readily available. To learn more about senior living options in your area that meet your budget, call your local Care Advisor at (866) 662-0435. Your Care Advisor will work with you to determine what senior living community option is best for the senior, the budget, location and the services provided. What’s best is that this service is completely free for families to use!