Glaucoma is a progressive eye disease caused by increased intraocular pressure (IOP) that results from an over-production of fluid or malfunction in the eye's drainage structures. The disease can lead to vision loss and possible blindness if left untreated. The most common form of Glaucoma is open angle glaucoma, caused by aqueous fluid building up in the anterior chamber. Closed angle glaucoma occurs when abnormal structures in the front of the eye, known as the angel, are too narrow. This results in a smaller channel for the aqueous to pass through. If aqueous becomes blocked, IOP increases.
In its early stages Glaucoma is virtually unnoticeable to the individual, earliest signs of the disease are best detected by your Optometrist or Ophthalmologist. As the disease progresses, the most common symptom noticed is a narrowing field of vision. The problem here is that once vision loss is noticed, damage has already been done. For this reason is it is crucial to have regular eye exams to prevent vision loss.
Diagnosis, Screening and Tests
During routine exams, the pressure in the eye is measured using various type of instruments called Tonometers. These instruments may physically touch the front surface of the eye or use a small puff of air to measure the resistance of the cornea thus giving the doctor an estimation of the pressure behind it (IOL). If the indicated pressure is above or outside normal parameters, more in-depth testing can be done to define the full extent of any possible defect or disease.