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American Academy of Ophthalmology

Retina & Glaucoma Specialities

Glaucoma is caused by a number of different eye diseases, which in most cases produce increased pressure within the eye. This elevated pressure is caused by a backup of fluid in the eye. Over time, it causes damage to the optic nerve. Through early detection, diagnosis and treatment, the progression can be slowed down and vision can be preserved.

There are two main types of glaucoma:

  • Primary Open Angle Glaucoma  (POAG)

This is the most common form of glaucoma, affecting about three million Americans. It happens when the eye’s drainage canals become clogged over time. The inner eye pressure (also called intraocular pressure or IOP) rises since the fluid cannot drain out of the eye. Most people have no symptoms and no early warning signs. If open angle glaucoma is not diagnosed and treated, it can cause a gradual loss of vision. This type of glaucoma develops slowly and sometimes without noticeable sight loss for many years. It usually responds well to medication, especially if caught early and treated.

  • Angle Closure Glaucoma

This type of glaucoma is also known as acute glaucoma or narrow angle glaucoma. It is not as common and is very different from open angle glaucoma because the eye pressure can drastically increase in a short amount of time. With angle closure glaucoma, the iris and cornea is not as wide and open as it should be. The outer edge of the iris bunches up over the drainage canals, when the pupil enlarges too much or too quickly (i.e. when entering a dark room). This will cause a blockage of the opening of the drainage canal. Symptoms of angle closure glaucoma may include headaches, eye pain, nausea, rainbows around lights at night, and very blurred vision.

Retinal Detachment

A retinal detachment is caused by separation of the retina’s sensory and pigment layers. Retinal detachment is considered an ocular emergency that requires immediate medical attention and surgery. It is a problem frequently seen in the middle-aged and elderly.There are three main causes of retinal detachments. The most common cause is a tear the retina, allowing fluid to seep under the layers of the retina. The following people have a higher risk for developing this condition: those who are very nearsighted, those who have undergone eye surgery, or those who have experienced a serious eye injury.The second most common cause is due to strands of vitreous or scar tissue on the retina, creating traction on the retina. Patients with diabetes can experience this due to their higher propensity to form scar tissue.The third cause is fluid collecting underneath the layers of the retina, causing it to separate from the back wall of the eye. This type usually occurs in conjunction with another disease affecting the eye.