Causes of Glaucoma:

The Origin and Causes of Glaucoma

Editor's note: the following article discusses cataract eye surgery. Here at H&B we recommend natural approaches and urge you to look into alternatives before choosing surgery or taking powerful drugs with potentially dangerous side effects.

Glaucoma is currently believed to be the final product of optic nerve damage numerous structural and systemic diseases characterized by high pressure within the eye. This pressure can damage and even destroy the sensitive nerve cells in the rear of the eye, causing loss of sight.

The association of glaucoma with increased pressure in the eye is oft attributed to Richard Banister, an English oculist and author of the first book on ophthalmology in the English language, who made this observation in 1622. Banister observed that if you felt an eye with glaucoma by rubbing on the eyelids, the eye felt more hard and solid than normal.

Glaucoma is not a modern disease. The ancient Greeks coined the term glaucoma, which they used to describe all eye diseases that lead to blindness. In the first several centuries A.D., cataracts, which can be treated, started to be distinguished from glaucoma, which could not be amended.

Today, a diagnosis of glaucoma is based on three factors: signs of damage to the optic nerve; intraocular pressure (IOF), the pressure within the eye, which is typically elevated; and characteristic changes in the visual field, specifically a loss of peripheral vision. Very often the first sign that glaucoma may be present is an increase in IOP.

Since the 1930s, opthamologists have distinguished between two primary forms of the disease: narrow-angle glaucoma and open-angle. These names were based on the width of the angle formed by the meeting of the iris and the cornea. Grades I and II glaucoma (glaucoma in the presence of 10-degree and 20-degree angles, respectively) were designated narrow-angle glaucoma; grades III and IV glaucoma (30-degree and 40-degree angles, respectively) were termed open-angle glaucoma.

Open-angle glaucoma is divided into a number of different categories, with the most common type being primary open-angle glaucoma.

The other glaucomas that make up the open-angle family are variously called structural or secondary, or glaucoma as an end product of a disease.

Finally a ngle-closure glaucoma (glaucoma caused by a narrow angle and/or close proximity of structures within the eye to each other) is usually considered a structural problem.

Today researchers have recorded more than a dozen distinct forms of glaucoma, and there are likely more. Some scientists claim they can differentiate between as many as 40 different varieties of glaucoma.

Although primary open-angle glaucoma accounts for the majority of cases of glaucoma, people can have other forms. As the differences among glaucomas become clearer, and the root causes are better identified, researchers may be able to develop better and more specified treatments for controlling each individual type.

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