The most common form of glaucoma is called open-angle glaucoma. It occurs when the trabecular meshwork of the eye gradually becomes less efficient at draining fluid.
As this happens, your eye pressure, also called your intraocular pressure (IOP), rises. High eye pressure leads to damage of the optic nerve fibers. This damage to the optic nerve fibers can occur at different eye pressures among different patients. If you have glaucoma, Doctor Murphy will prescribe glaucoma eye drops to lower your eye pressure. This lower eye pressure will protect your optic nerve from further damage.
Typically, open-angle glaucoma has no symptoms in its early stages and your vision remains normal. As the optic nerve fibers become more damaged, blank spots begin to appear in your field of vision. You usually won’t notice these blank spots in your day-to-day activities until the optic nerve is significantly damaged and these spots become large. If all of the optic nerve fibers die, blindness results.
Only about half of the three million Americans who have glaucoma are even aware that they have the condition.
Early detection of glaucoma is the best way to avoid visual loss from glaucoma. That is why your complete eye examination will include measurement of your eye pressure and a careful examination of your optic nerve.