Types of Glaucoma

The term Glaucoma refers to a characteristic pattern of damage to the optic nerve which currently cannot be reversed. For all types of glaucoma, early detection and prompt effective treatment is vital to reduce visual damage.

 


Glaucoma Suspect

Clinicians will refer to someone as a ‘glaucoma suspect’ if they think the person might be showing early signs of glaucoma but they are not yet sure. Many people suspected of having glaucoma at this stage turn out not to have it at all, but some do develop it in time and it is these people who can benefit the most from timely treatment.


 

Primary Open Angle Glaucoma

Primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG) is the most common form of glaucoma in Australia. It is a condition in which the optic nerve is damaged leading to loss of peripheral vision. There is no cure, however, there are treatment options to prevent further loss.

 


Normal Tension Glaucoma

The term glaucoma refers to a characteristic pattern of damage to the optic nerve (the nerve that enters the back of the eye and carries the visual signal to the brain) along with corresponding visual field loss which is progressive. Various risk factors for the development of glaucoma are recognised, but many other risk factors remain unknown.


Acute Angle-Closure Glaucoma

Glaucoma of this type is the second most common and involves a narrow drainage angle. In this case, the iris (coloured part of the eye) is usually too close to the drainage angle and can block the passage for the fluid to pass through. If angle closure occurs suddenly, the IOP may rise abruptly causing an ACUTE angle-closure glaucoma attack. Acute angle-closure is a medical emergency requiring urgent treatment.


Childhood Glaucoma

Glaucoma in older children (greater than 2 years old) and adolescents is similar to glaucoma in adults. Glaucoma in children of all ages is rare, unlike adult open angle (chronic) glaucoma, which is relatively common. Glaucoma affects approximately 1 in 2000 children.


Glaucoma in Older Children

Glaucoma in older children (greater than 2 years old) and adolescents is similar to glaucoma in adults. Glaucoma in children of all ages is rare, unlike adult open angle (chronic) glaucoma, which is relatively common. Glaucoma affects approximately 1 in 2000 children.


Traumatic Glaucoma

Traumatic glaucoma refers to cases in which a direct injury to the eye has led to the development of glaucoma. Glaucoma is the name given to a group of eye diseases in which the optic nerve at the back of the eye is slowly destroyed.


Steroid-Induced Glaucoma

Treatment with steroids can elevate the pressure in the eye. This is termed Steroid- Induced Ocular Hypertension. If there is persistent eye pressure elevation then damage to the optic nerve of the eye can occur with corresponding damage to the peripheral vision, this is termed Steroid Induced Glaucoma.


Pseudo-Exfoliation Syndrome and Glaucoma

In some eyes with raised intraocular pressure (IOP) and glaucoma, many tiny white flakes can be seen when viewed through a slit lamp microscope, lying on the edge of the pupil, and on the front surface of the crystalline lens. These white flakes have the appearance of microscopic dandruff and are usually accompanied by a mild dispersion of pigment granules from the back surface of the iris, with an accumulation of this pigment in the tissues of the trabecular meshwork. This is different from a condition called pigment dispersion syndrome. About 50% of the time, only one eye of a patient is affected by the pseudo-exfoliation syndrome.


Pigment-Dispersion Syndrome

Glaucoma is usually caused by an increase in intraocular pressure (IOP) which can damage the optic nerve. Pressure can be elevated if the trabecular drainage tissues become blocked by particles of pigment.


Neovascular (Rubeotic) Glaucoma

The normal eye has a very high demand for nutrients such as oxygen to allow it to function normally. Various processes ensure the delivery of oxygen to these tissues via the ocular circulation. However, some diseases may result in the eye being starved of blood and oxygen which may lead to a cascade of processes finally resulting in neovascular glaucoma


Mixed Mechanism Glaucomas

Combined mechanism glaucomas refers to an eye with elevated pressure in which both open-angle and angle-closure glaucoma mechanisms are present. Usually, the structure of the eye is similar to that found in eyes with angle-closure glaucoma – that is; the globe is somewhat smaller than idea


Iridocorneal Endothelial Syndrome<

The cornea is the clear window in front of the coloured part of the eye (the iris). It has five layers to it and the inner layer is called the endothelium. The endothelium is a single layer of cells that do not regenerate. Its purpose is to pump fluid out of the cornea, effectively preventing it from becoming waterlogged.


Sturge-Weber Syndrome and Glaucoma

Combined mechanism glaucomas refers to an eye with elevated pressure in which both open-angle and angle-closure glaucoma mechanisms are present. Usually, the structure of the eye is similar to that found in eyes with angle-closure glaucoma – that is; the globe is somewhat smaller than idea


Primary Angle-Closure

Primary angle-closure (PAC) is defined as appositional or synechial closure of the anterior chamber angle which can lead to aqueous outflow obstruction and raised eye pressure, in the absence of glaucomatous optic neuropathy.



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