What is glaucoma?

Glaucoma is the result of fluid filling the space in the front most section of your eye. The optic nerve, which is the channel from your eye to your brain, sustains damage from the pressure. Therefore, the final image your brain processes is distorted.

Types of glaucoma

There are two primary forms of glaucoma:

Open-angle glaucoma is a genetic form of glaucoma that is less detectable because the blockage is deeper in the channel. This type attacks our sight from the peripheral to central sections of the eye. You will experience tunnel vision before any noticeable blurred or blindness. The early stages go undetected because there are few warning signs. The most common treatment is eye drops.

Angle-closure glaucoma happens when the area between your cornea and lens is too narrow. As our eyes change over time the fluid has less space to move freely and pressure mounts. Symptoms may include a decrease in overall vision with a spectrum of colors around lights. You may also have:

  • Severe headache
  • Pain in one eye
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Eye redness

The most common treatment is a mix of laser therapy and surgery.

A person may also have congenital glaucoma (often diagnosed at a few months of age) or secondary glaucoma, caused by another known condition, such as diabetes.

Diagnosis and testing for glaucoma

In order to diagnose glaucoma, your doctor may recommend certain tests, such as tonometry, which determines the level of fluid squeezing the nerve. A thin sheet transfers color-changing dye onto the surface of the eye. A light attached to a microscope measures the pressure. Your doctor may also perform a visual acuity test, pupil dilation, and visual field testing.



Laser Surgery

Laser surgery is sometimes used to remove diseased tissue within the body, to seal nerve endings after surgery, and to remove skin cancer and skin abnormalities.



Main Line Health offers ophthalmology services for patients throughout the Philadelphia region who have eye conditions.