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Glaucoma

AMBULATORY CARE:

Glaucoma

is an eye disease that causes vision loss in one or both eyes. Glaucoma is usually caused by fluid buildup behind the eye. This puts pressure on your optic nerve and damages it. The 2 main types are open-angle and closed-angle glaucoma. Fluid normally drains through canals in the eyes. The fluid contains deposits that get left behind in the canals as the fluid drains. Over time, the deposits create a blockage that keeps fluid from draining easily through the canals. Open-angle means the blockage cannot be seen in tests. Closed-angle means the blockage can be seen.

Eye Anatomy

Common signs and symptoms of glaucoma:

  • Open-angle glaucoma usually affects both eyes. Signs and symptoms may be worse in 1 eye. Any of the following may develop slowly over time:
    • Blind spots or areas of vision loss that get larger over time and combine
    • Loss of peripheral (side) vision
    • Only seeing clearly when you look straight ahead
  • Closed-angle glaucoma may cause any of the following in one or both eyes, and may happen suddenly:
    • Vision loss or blurred vision
    • Eye pain that may be severe
    • Headaches that may get better when you sleep
    • Trouble seeing at night
    • Halos or rainbows around lights

Seek care immediately if:

  • You have a sudden loss of vision.
  • You have blurry vision and a severe headache.
  • You have severe eye pain or a change in your vision.
  • You have nausea and are vomiting.

Call your doctor or ophthalmologist if:

  • Your symptoms get worse, even after treatment.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Treatment:

The goal of treatment is to reduce eye pressure and prevent damage to your optic nerve. You may need any of the following:

  • Eye pressure medicines help decrease eye pressure. They may also decrease the amount of fluid your eyes make or help your eyes drain better.
  • Laser surgery may be needed if other treatments do not work. Healthcare providers use a laser to open your eye drainage system or create a new opening for eye fluid to drain.

Manage glaucoma:

  • Get regular eye exams. This will help healthcare providers monitor your glaucoma.
  • Avoid behaviors that increase eye pressure. Try not to strain when you have a bowel movement. Do not wear tight clothing around your neck or chest. Do not push or lift anything heavier than 5 pounds. Avoid strenuous activity.
  • Eat foods that are healthy for your eyes. Certain foods help get more blood to vessels in your eyes. An example is leafy green vegetables, such as fresh spinach. Your healthcare provider or a dietitian can help you create meals plans.
  • Carry medical alert identification. Wear medical alert jewelry or carry a card that says you have glaucoma. Ask your healthcare provider where to get these items.
    Medical Alert Jewelry

Follow up with your doctor or ophthalmologist as directed:

You may need to return every 3 to 6 months to have your eye pressure checked. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Learn more about Glaucoma (Ambulatory Care)

Associated drugs

IBM Watson Micromedex

Symptom checker

Symptoms and treatments

Mayo Clinic Reference

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.