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Glaucoma Develops Aqueous Humor Types Open Angle Prevention

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Last updated 02/01/2022

This eye disease delivers anxiety and depression. You don’t notice any symptoms until later on. Glaucoma develops aqueous humor.

It consists of a group of eye diseases that affect the optic nerve of the eye. Your optic nerve is important to your eye health. Furthermore, glaucoma is the main cause of blindness in the United States.

Glaucoma Develops Aqueous Humor

Glaucoma develops due to damage of the optic nerve. As the nerve slowly deteriorates you may see blind spots in your visual field. Further, it is not fully understood but the nerve damage is usually connected to the intraocular pressure (IOP) in the eye.

Above all, this increase in eye pressure happens because of fluid (aqueous humor) buildup. Aqueous humor constantly flows around the inside of the eye. Most importantly, this fluid drains out through a mesh-like canal known as trabecular meshwork where the cornea and iris connect.

So, there can be more fluid or a drainage system that is not working right. Thus, the fluid can’t flow out like it should and this increases eye pressure.

How Intraocular Pressure Works

For example, a basketball or football needs air pressure to keep their shape. Likewise, your eyeball needs internal fluid pressure in order to retain its globular shape and ability to see. But when IOP is unbalanced, it can raise to dangerously high levels causing glaucoma.

Unlike our basketball or football your eye can't relieve pressure by puncturing a leak and deflating, when IOP is high. However, it keeps building up and pushing against the optic nerve damaging its fibers and causing vision loss.

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Types of Glaucoma

There are two common types of glaucoma. Open-angle and Angle-closure. Open-angle and angle-closure can then be broken down to primary and secondary.

Primary glaucomas are when there is no other cause. Secondary glaucomas are caused by another health condition like cataracts or diabetes.

Primary Glaucomas

Open-angle Glaucoma (aka wide-angle glaucoma)

Open-angle glaucoma is the most common type. You may not have any symptoms until you notice vision loss. And this could occur much later.

 

It could be caused by pressure building up in your eye. The cornea and iris form the drainage angle which stays open. But the trabecular meshwork is somewhat blocked.

So, this structure is ok although the fluid is not draining right. This increases a buildup of eye pressure. In conclusion, intraocular pressure damages your optic nerve affecting your vision.

Eventually, this can lead to blindness. Open-angle glaucoma affects about 2 in 10 African Americans. Most importantly, high blood pressure or diabetes puts you at higher risk for this type.

Normal-tension Glaucoma

Normal-tension glaucoma falls under a kind of open-angle glaucoma where your eye pressure is in the normal range. However, your optic nerve still becomes damaged.

Those at higher risk for normal-tension glaucoma:

  • Japanese descent
  • Normal-tension glaucoma runs in family
  • Having certain conditions such as irregular heartbeat
  • People who have low blood pressure

It could be you have a sensitive optic nerve or there may be a decrease in blood supply to your optic nerve. The limited blood supply could be due to atherosclerosis which forms a buildup of fat deposits (plaque) inside arteries.

Angle-closure Glaucoma (aka acute glaucoma or narrow-angle glaucoma)

Angle-closure glaucoma is considered a medical emergency when it is sudden (acute angle-closure glaucoma).

Visit your doctor immediately or go to the ER if you suddenly feel:

  • Intense eye pain
  • Stomach upset (nausea)
  • Red eye
  • Blurry vision

Therefore, the outer edge of the iris prevents fluid from draining out of the front of the eye. As the fluid is unable to circulate around the eye, the pressure increases. Most importantly, if left untreated angle-closure can lead to blindness in a couple days.

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Congenital Glaucoma (aka childhood, pediatric or infantile glaucoma)

This eye problem can be present at birth although rare in the United States. That is to say about 1 in 10,000 have it. Congenital glaucoma keeps the fluid from draining like it should.

When your baby is born with glaucoma you typically see the signs right away.

Congenital glaucoma symptoms:

  • Enlarged eyes
  • Cloudy cornea
  • Photosensitivity (sensitivity to light)
  • More tearing

Secondary Glaucomas

Neovascular Glaucoma

Neovascular glaucoma develops when your eye creates additional blood vessels. After that, the area of your eye where fluid usually drains is covered. Further, this kind of glaucoma is often due to another medical condition such as diabetes or high blood pressure.

 

Symptoms you may not notice either eye pain or redness.

Pigmentary Glaucoma

Pigmentary glaucoma involves the pigment from your iris (colored part of eye). Here the pigment flakes off and collects keeping the fluid from draining.

Most likely to get pigmentary glaucoma are young, white males who are near-sighted. For those having this condition, your vision can be blurry, or you can view rainbow-colored rings. Further, this occurs especially when you exercise. In short, there is no current way to stop the pigment from flaking off of your iris.

Exfoliation Glaucoma (aka pseudiexfoliation)

Exfoliation glaucoma is a form of open-angle glaucoma. This can develop if you have exfoliation syndrome. Thus, a condition where additional material is deposited on areas of the eye so fluid can’t drain.

Some research shows this could be inherited and you are at higher risk if a family member has it. This form of glaucoma can develop quicker compared to primary open-angle glaucoma. It usually has higher eye pressure. Most importantly, those at risk should get regular eye exams.

Uveitic Glaucoma

Uveitic glaucoma can develop in people who have uveitis. Uveitis is a condition of swelling and inflammation in the eye. To sum up, around 2 out of 10 individuals with uveitis will get uveitic glaucoma.

Experts don’t know how uveitis leads to uveitic glaucoma. The theory is it could occur because uveitis can have inflammation and scar tissue in the center of the eye. As a result, damage or blockage to the eye area occurs where fluid drains out. This increases eye pressure leading to uveitic glaucoma and vision loss.

Other causes of glaucoma:

  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Cataracts
  • Tumors
  • Blunt or chemical injury to your eye
  • Blocked blood vessels inside your eye
  • Inflammatory conditions
  • Eye surgery to correct another condition (rare)
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For Your Eyes

Although there is really no way to prevent glaucoma it helps to improve overall health.  It is important to detect glaucoma in its early stages. Therefore, this helps avoid further vision loss and slowing the progression.

Dilated Eye Exams

Get regular dilated eye exams and protect your vision. Most importantly, the disease can be caught early and treated.

Family Eye History

Know your family eye history. Some types of glaucoma may be inherited. Above all, if you are at increased risk, you may need to be screened more often.

Prescribed Eye Drops

These glaucoma eye drops can greatly decrease the risk that high eye pressure will lead to glaucoma. For the full effect, prescription eye drops need to be used regularly even though there are no symptoms.

Take Your Medication

Prescription medications are given for a reason. Your eye drops or other medications can help with the best possible treatment results. But you gotta use them as directed. Or your optic nerve damage could get worse.

Steroids

If you take any steroid medications for an extended period of time or at a high dose this can raise your eye pressure.  Most importantly, be careful if you already have glaucoma. Steroids most likely to do this are those taken orally or used around your eyes.

Blood Pressure

Make sure your Ophthalmologist knows about your blood pressure meds. Glaucoma damage can get worse if your blood pressure gets too low while you sleep. Talk to your doctor if you take these at night or if you have low blood pressure symptoms. Above all, you don’t want to stop or change these meds on your own.

Exercise Safely

When your heart rate is raised like with intense exercise your eye pressure can also raise. Brisk walking and exercising regularly at a moderate pace can lower eye pressure with open-angle glaucoma. Likewise, it improves your overall health.

A qualified trainer should show you how to breathe correctly while lifting heavy weights, if this is your exercise.

Head Down

In the case with severe glaucoma specific yoga poses may increase eye pressure. Your head shouldn't fall below your heart for long periods of time, if you have glaucoma or are at risk. In short, this can significantly raise your eye pressure.

Included with this would be avoiding products for back pain such as inversion tables or gravity boots. Consult with your Ophthalmologist with avoiding head down positions as you exercise.

Protective Eye Wear

If your eye is seriously injured this could lead to glaucoma. Eye protection should be worn when using power tools, in your home and yard. Likewise, playing high-speed racket sports in enclosed courts or any close contact sports where objects may encounter your eyes.

Your Eyes and Sun

Protect your eyes from the sun. When you are outdoors wear quality polarized sunglasses and your hat. To sum up, glaucoma can make eyes highly sensitive to the sun’s glare.

Eat a Healthy Diet

A well-balanced diet benefits overall health. However, this does not prevent glaucoma from getting worse.

Eating fresh large amounts of leafy green vegetables and dark colored fruits daily are better than supplements in helping glaucoma.

Above all, these vitamins and nutrients are essential for eye health:

  • Zinc
  • Copper
  • Selenium
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin E
  • Vitamin A

Caffeine

Watch your caffeine intake. That is to say, it is known that large amounts of caffeine may increase your eye pressure.

Sip Liquids Regularly

Gulping down liquids of a quart or more in a short period may increase eye pressure, temporarily. Most importantly, drink moderate amounts of liquids during your day, as long as you stay hydrated.

Practice Oral Health

Recent studies have linked gum disease (gingivitis) to optic nerve damage in glaucoma. Thus, drawing attention to brush, floss daily and keep routine dentist appointments.

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Sleep

Sleep with your head elevated. You shouldn't sleep with your eye pressed against the pillow or on your arm, if you have glaucoma. That is to say, keep your head raised around 20 degrees higher to bring down IOP as you sleep.

Others at risk of glaucoma are those with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). If you are a heavy snorer or you stop breathing at times during the night, get tested for OSA.

Stress Relief for Glaucoma

Stress can bring on an attack of acute-angle closure glaucoma. If you have a risk of this condition, find healthy stress management.

Meditation has been studied and has shown positive results. There are apps to download online for free. Just sitting quietly in nature where you’re not disturbed is great. Soak in the bath, pool or Jacuzzi.

Wrapping it up

Glaucoma can damage your optic nerve and lead to vision loss. The main types of glaucoma are open-angle and angle-closure. Furthermore, there are other types of glaucoma less common.

Most Importantly, is having an appointment to get your eyes exam when you should. This can catch any eye changes you may have early on. Practicing ways to reduce stress can be helpful in preventing an attack of acute-angle closure glaucoma.

What type of glaucoma do you have? Did you know some practices effect your eye pressure? What treatment do you use?

Mary

Mary is the founder of All About Our Skin. Former esthetician and CPC. Enjoys researching skincare and has been studying our skin for the past fifteen years.

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