The optic nerve transmits sensory information from the retina to the brain to facilitate sight. When an accumulation of pressure builds inside the eye, this force can gradually damage the optic nerve. This is a common eye condition known as glaucoma. If left untreated, glaucoma can lead to significant vision loss — sometimes even blindness.

Although doctors have identified many types of glaucoma, most cases fall into two categories: open-angle glaucoma and closed-angle glaucoma. In this blog, the team at Clarity Eye Group in Huntington Beach compare these forms of glaucoma.

Primary Open-Angle Glaucoma

About 90% of people who have glaucoma are diagnosed with the open-angle variety. Over time, improper drainage in the eye or an overproduction of fluid causes pressure to rise inside the eye. Because symptoms of open-angle glaucoma (such as loss of peripheral vision and slight pupil dilation) manifest gradually, they are usually ignored or attributed to a separate issue.

However, waiting until the symptoms of glaucoma are obvious to consult a doctor is not a wise choice. By that point, glaucoma may have robbed a significant amount of the patient’s vision. For that reason, doctors strongly encourage patients, especially those over 40, to undergo annual eye examinations to catch glaucoma before extensive damage occurs.

Primary Closed-Angle Glaucoma

Also known as angle closure glaucoma, this type poses a much more immediate threat to one’s vision. Closed-angle glaucoma occurs when the drainage path in the eye becomes fully blocked. This is usually the result of the iris obstructing the aqueous humor. Once the eye cannot drain fluids, pressure builds quickly against the optic nerve, with vision deteriorating just as fast. Patients who notice symptoms should seek medical attention immediately since this vision loss is irreversible.

Glaucoma Treatment

While this information about glaucoma may seem frightening, the good news is that the amazing eye doctors at Clarity Eye Group have decades of experience treating all types of glaucoma. Glaucoma may not be curable, but it can be slowed to the extent that patients maintain their sight for the rest of their lives. For some patients, treatment can be as easy as medicated eye drops. Others may require surgery like trabeculoplasty or iridotomy to improve drainage in the eyes and relieve intraocular pressure.

When it comes to glaucoma, only trust the best doctors in Orange County to protect your vision. To make an appointment for an eye exam or to schedule treatment for open-angle or closed-angle glaucoma, please call (714) 842-0651 or book directly online.