The eye contains fluid produced by the eye. Since the eye constantly produces fluid, some of the fluid must drain to maintain a good, steady eye pressure. When the pressure increases, damage may occur to the optic nerve, causing permanent damage to vision, including blindness. Understanding some of the causes and treatments for these conditions may help diagnose eye pressure diseases early and keep the best possible vision.
A normal eye pressure measures between 12 and 22 mmHg, and for most people, an eye pressure in this range does not cause damage to the eye. However, in people with low-tension glaucoma, also known as normal-tension glaucoma, the pressure may need to come down even lower. To slow the damage from the disease, doctors prescribe eyedrops, trying to lower the “eye pressure at least 30 percent,” states the National Eye Institute.
The most common type of eye pressure disease, open-angle glaucoma, results from the fluid not draining properly from the eye, which is “similar to a clogged pipe,” according to the Glaucoma Research Foundation. On examination, an eye doctor will usually note high eye pressures. In early open-angle glaucoma, he may not notice damage to the optic nerve. The doctor will follow the eye pressures over time and monitor for changes. If changes occur, eyedrops will lower the eye pressure and slow the disease.
Angle-closure glaucoma, also called narrow-angle glaucoma, typically comes on suddenly, causing severe pain, nausea and vomiting. In this type of glaucoma, blockage occurs in the canal where fluid leaves the eye. In most cases, the problem happens when the iris, the colored part of the eye, “bunches up over the drainage canals,” reports the Glaucoma Research Foundation. Angle-closure glaucoma may lead to complete vision loss if not treated immediately. Doctors will put drops in the eye and give oral medications to lower the eye pressure. When the pressure comes down, symptoms will ease, and the doctor will determine further treatment.
Childhood glaucoma results from “incorrect development of the eye’s drainage system before birth,” reports the Glaucoma Research Foundation. Doctors diagnose most childhood cases of glaucoma within the first year after birth. Treatment options typically include a surgical procedure to help the fluid drain properly and glaucoma eyedrops. Symptoms include excessive tearing, light sensitivity and cloudiness to the eyes.
In some cases, glaucoma may result from other diseases or conditions. This type of glaucoma is called secondary glaucoma. Eye injuries may cause a pressure increase, and in advanced stages, cataracts may push against the iris and block the drainage canal. For most people, doctors can successfully treat secondary glaucoma with the use glaucoma eyedrops.
About this Author
Kay Rockwell started writing professionally in 2005. She primarily writes articles for LIVESTRONG.COM, focusing on eye-related topics. Rockwell worked as a Certified Ophthalmic Technician for 10 years before she returned to school where she is now working on a master\’s degree in writing while working on her second novel.