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Types of Glaucoma

What is a Glaucoma?  
Glaucoma is a medical term used to describe a group of eye conditions that causes damage to the fibres of the optic nerves in the eyes. This main reason behind this is due to the build-up fluid pressure (aqueous humour) in the eye balls. The build-up of pressure is due to an imbalance of fluid production and its drainage out for the eye. This increase in intraocular pressure can damage sensitive optic nerves in the eyes, which are responsible for transmitting images to the brain. Over time, the damage of these optic nerves could be so severe and irreversible such that it leads to permanent blindness. To date, glaucoma accounts for 40% blindness in Singapore.

There are 4 main types glaucoma.

Primary Open-Angle Glaucoma
It is the most common form of glaucoma. Just as the other organs in the body start to function less optimally as a person grows older, the eye’s fluid drainage system starts to degenerate over time as well. As such, the aqueous humour in the eyes does not drain out as quickly as it is being supplied. This leads to the build-up of intraocular pressure which damages the optic nerves in the eyes. Starting from the periphery, vision starts to fail. It could deteriorate to a point where a person is complete blind and this is irreversible. This form of glaucoma tends to progress slowly and patients may not notice the loss of vision until the disease has progressed significantly.
Primary Angle-Closure Glaucoma
It is also commonly known as acute glaucoma. This describes a form of glaucoma whereby there is a sudden blockage to the exit site of fluid from the eye. This drain or exit site is known as the trabecular meshwork. Such sudden blockage causes a quick and sharp increase pressure in the eyes. It is often coupled with redness in the eyes, blurry vision, headaches, nausea and vomiting. This form of glaucoma can cause the rapid development of blindness and medical attention should be sought immediately.
Secondary Glaucoma
Secondary glaucoma describes the onset of glaucoma as an effect of other eye-related diseases or conditions. Some of them include cataracts, trauma to the eyes, diabetes and other inflammatory eye diseases that could damage the trabecular meshwork.
Congenital Glaucoma
This form of glaucoma occurs due to the abnormal development of the drainage system, also known as the trabecular meshwork, of the eye. It is due to genetics.
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