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Anyone can develop high eye pressure, but conditions such as diabetes or a high degree of myopia can result in an increase in intraocular pressure. There are no visible symptoms of increased eye pressure and it often goes undetected, which can increase the risk of developing glaucoma.
Similar to high eye pressure, glaucoma is difficult to detect as pain is usually non-existent. Therefore, you should have regular eye exams by an eye doctor to monitor your IOP and look for any increases, indicating a problem.
The cause of glaucoma is usually a failure of the eye to maintain a good balance between the amount of fluids produced and the amount drained away.
There are two major types of glaucoma:
- Primary open-angle glaucoma - gradually reduces your peripheral vision. If your IOP remains high, the deterioration can progress until tunnel vision develops, and you will be able to see only objects that are straight ahead. Prevention and early detection are vital, as a decrease in peripheral vision cannot be treated. If you have mobility issues from irreversible peripheral vision loss, you should consider seeing a low vision specialist for advice about what aids are available.
- Narrow-angle glaucoma - produces sudden symptoms such as eye pain, headaches, halos around lights, dilated pupils, vision loss, red eyes, nausea and vomiting.
Most glaucoma treatment options are designed to lower and/or control intraocular pressure. The first choice of treatment are often glaucoma eye drops. The type of eye drops you are prescribed will be determined by the type of glaucoma you have.
Your doctor may find that you are not an ideal candidate for prescription eye drops depending on any pre-existing medical conditions and your general health. If this is the case you may be eligible for glaucoma surgery, including lasers, aimed at reducing or stabilizing eye pressure.
For more information on glaucoma, treatments and causes, visit AllAboutVision.com's Consumer Guide to Glaucoma.