What Are the Types of Glaucoma?

a close up of a female having her eyes examined

January is Glaucoma Awareness month, a time of year where we take a close look at the condition and focus on sharing information to help patients maintain their eye health. While we covered the basics in a recent article – Understanding Glaucoma – we wanted to seize this opportunity to take a deeper dive into the topic.  

Glaucoma is often thought of as a single eye condition. However, there is more than one type of glaucoma, each with its own unique characteristics.  

If you are diagnosed with glaucoma, it’s wise to explore more about your specific variant. That way, you won’t just know more about how the condition is impacting your eye health, but also how the treatment options and outcomes can differ.  

Here’s a look at each of the types of glaucoma, including their characteristics, treatment options, and more.  

Open-Angle Glaucoma  

Open-angle glaucoma is the most common form of the condition. With open-angle glaucoma, the angle between the cornea and the iris is wide and open, essentially the way it is meant to be. Issues arise when the drainage canals become blocked, preventing proper fluid flow and leading to fluid accumulation.  

As the fluid builds up, the pressure increases. That pressure ultimately causes damage to the optic nerve, disrupting vision signals between the eye and the brain.  

Many people with open-angle glaucoma are initially unaware they have the condition. The fluid buildup usually happens slowly over time and doesn’t typically result in physical discomfort. Typically, people with open-angle glaucoma only become aware once they begin experiencing vision loss unless it is caught earlier during a standard eye exam.  

Open-angle glaucoma can lead to significant vision loss, up to blindness. With proper treatment, damage can be mitigated or slowed, potentially preserving your vision. However, there is no cure for any form of glaucoma, including open-angle.  

Acute Angle-Closure Glaucoma  

Angle-closure glaucoma is also the result of fluid buildup. However, fluid flow is disrupted due to the narrowing of the entrance points of the drainage canals. At times, those openings are simply too small to allow for proper fluid flow. However, they can also be shut entirely, either by design or due to clogging.  

With angle-closure glaucoma, symptoms typically appear quickly. Along with vision loss, eye pain, headaches, and nausea commonly occur. There may also be eye redness as well as a halo effect around lights.   

Angle-closure glaucoma causes vision loss and may lead to blindness. It is also considered a medical emergency. As with open-angle glaucoma, there isn’t a cure. Though, with quick treatment, it’s possible to reduce the harmful effects of the condition.  

Normal-Tension Glaucoma  

With normal-tension glaucoma, pressure isn’t the issue, though optic nerve damage still occurs, resulting in vision changes or loss. In some cases, trauma may be to blame. In others, it could be heightened optic nerve sensitivity, blood flow issues, or circulation impairments.  

Normal-tension glaucoma, like the other versions, also can’t be cured. However, it can be managed, especially if caught early.  

At ECVA, our staff works tirelessly to care for the eye health of our patients. If you haven’t had your eyes checked recently or are experiencing symptoms of glaucoma, schedule an appointment at your closest ECVA clinic today.  

How to Tell If You Have a Scratched Cornea

person rubbing their eyes

The cornea is the thin, transparent outer layer of the eye that extends over the iris and pupil. Since it’s on the surface of the eye, it can sustain a direct injury.  

Corneal abrasions – or scratches on the cornea – can vary in severity. At times, the abrasion is relatively mild, causing only subtle symptoms. However, the scratches can be incredibly serious and may lead to additional problems, including corneal ulcers or iritis.  

Understanding the symptoms of a scratched cornea can help you determine if such an abrasion may cause any symptoms you’re experiencing. If you are wondering whether you have a scratched cornea, here’s what you need to know.  

Causes of a Scratched Cornea  

Generally speaking, scratched corneas can occur when something comes in contact with the surface of the eye. While it can be caused by a traumatic event, such as being intentionally or accidentally poked in the eye by a person or pet, those aren’t how must occur.  

Everyday incidental contact is a more likely culprit. For example, sand and dust getting into your eye could lead to abrasion, as well as debris from an industrial workplace. Makeup brushes can cause scratches as well, along with incorrectly removing a contact lens.  

Even dry eyes can be to blame. If your eyes get dry while sleeping, opening your eyelids in the morning can lead to abrasions due to the lack of moisture and the increased amount of friction.  

Essentially, anything that touches the cornea directly can damage the delicate tissue.  

Symptoms of a Scratched Cornea  

A scratched cornea can cause a range of symptoms, including:  

  • Eye Discomfort
  • A Gritty Sensation in the Eye
  • Eye Pain
  • Light Sensitivity
  • Excessive Tearing
  • Eye Redness
  • Blurry Vision
  • Headache

Mild abrasions may only produce mild symptoms, such as a general feeling of discomfort. The more severe the abrasions tend to be, the more noticeable symptoms often are. However, even a mild scratch can evolve into a more dangerous condition if not properly treated.  

Common Treatment for a Scratched Cornea  

If you suspect that you’ve scratched your cornea, it’s wise to take a few steps immediately. If you have scratched cornea symptoms, remove your contact lenses (if you wear them) carefully. Additionally, please don’t wear them again until your eye is fully healed.  

Flushing the eye with a saline solution is a smart move. That will help rinse out any dust, dirt, or debris, if any is present. After rinsing, blink multiple times to help remove the particles naturally.  

Resist the urge to rub your eyes. If any particles remain on the surface or embedded in the eye, rubbing can cause additional scratches or make an existing abrasion worse.  

When to Call a Doctor  

If you’ve rinsed your eye with saline and you’re still experiencing redness, pain, or the feeling that debris is stuck in your eye, seek immediate medical attention. A corneal abrasion can be incredibly serious, and prompt treatment is necessary to avoid further damage.  

Contact your optometrist or ophthalmologist right away for an emergency appointment. That way, they can evaluate your eye and determine if additional treatment is necessary.  

Your Eye Health is Our Priority 

At ECVA, our staff works tirelessly to care for our patients’ eyes, including evaluating and treating injuries as quickly as possible. If you suspect a corneal abrasion, schedule an appointment at your closest ECVA clinic today. 

Cloudy Vision vs. Blurry Vision

Describing a vision issue is challenging for many patients. It’s hard to find the right words to express precisely what you’re experiencing. At times, this leads some patients to use the terms “cloudy” and “blurry” interchangeably. After all, they both denote a reduction in visual acuity, so it’s common to assume their meanings are similar.  

However, cloud vision and blurry vision are two very different situations. If you are wondering what they have in common and what sets them apart, here’s a close look at what cloudy vision and blurry vision involve.  

Cloudy Vision  

In the simplest terms, cloudy vision is when it seems like you are observing everything through a fog. It makes everything you look at seem like it is shrouded in a haze. At times, it could seem similar to looking at the world through dirty glasses lenses or a fogged car windshield.  

When you have cloudy vision, it may also feel like there’s a film on your eyes. It may seem like you could potentially blink or wipe away that film, restoring your vision, but that doesn’t always work.  

Cloudy vision can be caused by a variety of conditions, with cataracts being the most common. When you have cataracts, your eye’s lens loses transparency, creating cloudy vision. Other potential causes include:  

  • Corneal damage  
  • Diabetes  
  • Infection  
  • Macular degeneration  
  • Optic nerve disease  

Improper contact lens care can also lead to cloudy vision. If the lens isn’t thoroughly cleaned, residue may impact visual acuity, just as it can through smudged lenses on glasses.  

Blurry Vision  

In the most basic sense, blurry vision is when you look at an object and it doesn’t appear to be in focus. It isn’t unlike when you take a picture with a camera. Before you adjust the lens, the object you are trying to capture doesn’t seem crisp. Then, once you adjust the camera’s lens, it becomes clear.  

Usually, when your vision is blurry, certain actions may make the item seem clearer. Squinting may bring it into better focus, similar to how a camera lens adjustment can.  

Many conditions can cause blurry vision. Near-sightedness, far-sightedness, and astigmatism are the most common and are usually correctable with prescription lenses. Other factors can also lead to blurry vision, including:  

  • Cataracts  
  • Corneal abrasions, opacification, or scarring  
  • Infection  
  • Low blood sugar  
  • Macular degeneration  
  • Migraine  
  • Optic neuritis  
  • Retinopathy  
  • Stroke  

In some cases, blurry vision is temporary. However, it can also require intervention and could potentially be permanent, depending on the cause.  

If you are experiencing vision changes, including cloudy or blurry vision, it’s wise to see an eye doctor as soon as possible. That way, they can determine the cause of your issue, ensuring you are treated promptly and correctly. Schedule an appointment at your closest ECVA clinic today. Our team will listen to your concerns and identify the ideal course of action, ensuring your eyes can remain healthy, and your vision issues are addressed appropriately.  

Tips for Exercising with Glasses

When you’re working out, your glasses can quickly become a hassle. As you move around, your glasses might not want to stay in place. Along with slipping down your nose, they could even fall off entirely. Plus, they might get foggy or smeared with sweat.  

Not only is this inconvenient, but it’s also potentially dangerous. You won’t be able to see clearly, increasing your odds of injury. Plus, your glasses might get damaged as they fall or after they hit the equipment or ground, and that’s problematic, too.  

Luckily, there are things you can do to make it easier to exercise with glasses. Here are some tips that can help.  

Get a Strap or Band  

A strap or band can be an excellent solution for keeping your glasses in place while you work out. In many cases, a tighter strap is ideal. It can hold your glasses in place even during a rigorous workout and won’t get wrapped around or caught in equipment when used correctly.  

Loose options that hang around your neck ensure your glasses don’t go tumbling to the ground if they happen to fall off. However, they should only be used when there isn’t a chance that they’ll get tangled in any machines or equipment.  

Bring a Cleaning Cloth or Wipes  

Having a cleaning cloth or wipes available means you can easily remove smears or handle it if your lenses fog up. With cleaning cloths, you’ll usually want to keep them in a bag or opt for one that comes in a small container. That way, you can keep it in the best shape possible.  

With wipes, you might have more flexibility. Since they are protected by packaging, you can keep a few in your pockets, and gym bag.  

Make Sure Your Frames Fit  

When your frames fit properly, they are more likely to stay in place. If yours tend to slide around, consider coming in to have them professional adjusted. That way, they stay tight around your ears and sit properly on your nose.  

If your frames are genuinely too large, then replacing them might be your best bet. That way, you can choose an option that fits better, increasing the odds that they’ll stay in place when you exercise.  

Ditch Glasses All Together  

Sometimes, the best way to ensure that your glasses won’t cause problems when your work out is to ditch them entirely. By switching to contact lenses or having your vision corrected with Lasik, you won’t have to worry about dealing with glasses when you exercise while still having the ability to see clearly.  

If you want to explore glasses alternatives with an ophthalmologist, have your glasses adjusted, or get a band or strap that can keep your glasses in place, ECVA can help. Our skilled team works diligently to ensure your eye health. Plus, we can help you determine which vision correction options work best for the activities you enjoy. Contact us or schedule an appointment at your nearest ECVA clinic today to learn more about how we can make it easier for you to work out while seeing clearly.