The optic nerve is an essential nerve that carries visual information from the eyes to the brain. When this nerve is damaged by any factor, the affected person will suffer from a condition called glaucoma. It is noteworthy that glaucoma is associated with a buildup of eye pressure and can lead to vision loss.
Unfortunately, vision loss from glaucoma is permanent. Therefore, it is vital to prevent it from happening and also go to an optometrist for regular eye exams. But how do you prevent glaucoma from happening if you don’t know its cause? So, we will shed more light on the common cause of glaucoma.
Increased pressure in the eye is the most common cause of glaucoma
Without mincing words, the most common cause of glaucoma is increased eye pressure. To understand how this happens, we need to explain some processes in the eye.
Simply put, every functioning eye produces a fluid called aqueous humor. The fluid goes into and out of the eye from time to time. The angle through which the fluid goes out of the eye is known as the drainage angle.
As long as there is a balance in the flow of aqueous humor, the intraocular pressure (IOP) will remain stable. Notably, IOP refers to the pressure in the eye. However, if the amount of fluid going into the eye is different from the amount leaving it, there will be a fluid buildup. The buildup will increase the pressure in the eyes which, in turn, damages the optic nerve.
Once the optic nerve fibers are damaged, the brain will not be able to receive visual information from the eye again. Therefore, there will be an irreversible vision loss as the damaged optic nerve fibers cannot be replaced or repaired.
It should be noted that this condition often affects both eyes. Nevertheless, it could have a more damaging effect on one eye than the other.
At the moment, little is known about the specific elements that lead to an imbalance flow of aqueous humor and subsequent increased intraocular pressure. Nonetheless, the following factors have been suggested as possible reasons:
- High blood pressure
- Restricted or clogged drainage in the eye
- Dilating eye drops
- Reduced or poor blood flow to the optic nerve.
- Corticosteroids and some other medications
Other less common causes of glaucoma
It is important to realize that increased pressure in the eye is not the only cause of glaucoma. A few of the less common causes of this condition are:
- Severe eye infection
- Chemical or physical injury to the eye
- Inflammatory conditions
- Blocked or clogged blood vessels supplying the eyes
Eye surgery could also lead to glaucoma, but this rarely happens. In addition, advanced cataracts, tumors, diabetes, or hypothyroidism can also be the underlying cause of secondary glaucoma.
Irrespective of the cause of glaucoma, it is crucial to diagnose the condition on time before it leads to vision loss. This is why everyone must visit an optometrist regularly for routine eye exams. An optometrist will diagnose any issue with your eyes and proffer the right solutions.