How does open-angle glaucoma come about
Depending on the anatomical conditions, whether the chamber angle is open, narrowed or closed, a distinction is made between open-angle and angle-block glaucoma. It also describes whether glaucoma is unrelated to another disease (primary) or a consequence of one (secondary), such as inflammation, injuries, tumors and new blood vessels such as diabetic retinopathy (a retinal disease caused by diabetes mellitus) or of vascular occlusions.
The different types of primary glaucoma are:
- Open-angle glaucoma (chronic)
- Angle closure glaucoma (chronic or acute: glaucoma attack)
- Congenital glaucoma
Chronic open-angle glaucoma is the most common form of glaucoma and is due to the aging of the drainage filters. This means that with increasing age, the aqueous humor no longer drains as well and the pressure in the eyes gradually increases as a result. In the early stages, primary chronic open-angle glaucoma shows no symptoms. Vision impairments appear much later. More than half of adult glaucoma patients are affected by this glaucoma.
Angle closure glaucoma
Angle closure glaucoma is favored by the tight anatomical situation between the cornea and the iris. If, in the course of life, the lens becomes thicker and the pupil is also wide, such as in the dark or under stress, the chamber angle can be blocked by the iris and this prevents the aqueous humor from flowing out. Especially people with severe farsightedness and advanced cataracts are prone to angle-closure glaucoma. Drugs that dilate the pupil, such as antidepressants, can make the situation even worse. Angle closure glaucoma can be chronic without the patient noticing any symptoms, or it can lead to a massive increase in intraocular pressure (50 mmHg or higher) called a glaucoma attack. In contrast to open-angle glaucoma, symptoms occur here. The attack can be accompanied by severe headache and nausea, migraine-like. In addition, it is usually seen fogged or in rainbow colors. A glaucoma attack is an acute emergency and needs immediate medical attention.
Congenital glaucoma is a rather rare disease, which is usually based on a developmental disorder in the area of the chamber angle. The increased intraocular pressure can then lead to unilateral or bilateral enlargement of the eyeball. Newborns with such a change, cloudy cornea or watery eyes should be examined by a specialist as soon as possible. In contrast to adult glaucoma, the focus is on surgical therapy to prevent permanent deterioration in vision.
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