Glaucoma is one of the most common eye diseases in elderly people. It is a condition in which your optic nerve, which connects the eye to the brain, becomes damaged. Having a healthy optic nerve is essential for good vision.

When fluid builds in the front part of one’s eye, it increases the eye pressure. This, as a result, damages the optic nerve. 

Glaucoma is the leading cause of blindness in people above the age of 60 years.

Let us talk about the causes and symptoms of glaucoma, and investigate who needs to beware of getting glaucoma.

It is worth mentioning here that Glaucoma is a serious eye condition that may lead to blindness. Therefore, it should not be treated at home with remedies. The best take on this is to consult an eye specialist.

What causes glaucoma?

Our eye constantly makes aqueous humor. As new aqueous is made and flows into the eye, the eye needs to drain out the old aqueous. This is done through an area called the drainage angle. This process helps in keeping the pressure in the eye stable. However, in cases where the drainage angle is not working properly, the pressure in the eye builds up. This results in damaging the optic nerve.

If you are curious to get a better understanding of this process through visuals, watch this video.

Have you ever seen an electric cable? It is made up of many small wires. Similarly, our optic nerve is made up of thousands of tiny nerve fibers. As these nerve fibers die, you start developing blind spots. Unfortunately, you do not notice all of this until the damage has progressed to a very advanced stage. When a major part of these tiny fibers dies, you start getting blind.

How does one get Glaucoma?

There are two types of Glaucoma.

  1. Primary open-angle glaucoma:

This is the most common type of glaucoma. When the drainage angle fails to drain the liquid in the eye, more like a clogged drain, it increases the eye pressure. This as a result damages the optic nerve. This type of glaucoma is painless and any vision changes are unnoticeable.

However, we find it worth mentioning here that some people may have optic nerves that are more sensitive than others. This means that those people are more prone to developing glaucoma than others. Therefore, regular eye checkups are very important to find early signs and avoid damage to the eye.

  1. Closed angle or narrow-angle glaucoma

If someone’s iris is very close to the drainage angle in someone’s eye, it may end up blocking the drainage. Do you know how a thin piece of plastic if slipped over, can block the drain? the same happens in this scenario. When the drainage angle gets completely blocked, the eye pressure rises very quickly causing an acute attack. This is rather a serious emergency, and consulting an eye specialist immediately is the only solution to it. 

This type of acute attack condition comes with several signs

  • The vision is suddenly blurry
  • You may have severe eye pain
  • It can give you a headache
  • It can cause the feeling of sickness in your stomach (nausea)
  • It can cause throwing up (vomit)
  •  It may cause you to see rainbow-colored rings or halos around lights

In many cases, closed-angle glaucoma is caused gradually. People may not sense the symptoms and changes until the acute attack takes place. This type of attack needs to be treated immediately or may cause blindness.

Curious enough for a visual explanation? Watch this video

The glaucoma suspects

The glaucoma suspects are those patients who have more than normal eye pressure but do not have any symptoms of glaucoma. These patients are at a high risk of developing glaucoma. 

However, some people may be labeled glaucoma suspects even if their eye pressure remains normal. So, having abnormal eye pressure is not the only criterion for labeling someone a glaucoma suspect. Regular visits to the eye specialist may bring forward unusual findings. Considering them, the ophthalmologist may label someone as a glaucoma suspect. 

What is pigment dispersion syndrome? Or pigmentary glaucoma symptoms?

Pigment dispersion syndrome (PDS) is a condition in which the pigment rubs off at the back of the iris. This can raise eye pressure and cause pigmentary glaucoma. People suffering from PDS or pigmentary glaucoma may see halos or have blurry vision after heavy movement activities like jogging or playing basketball

It is best to see your eye doctor if you have these or other symptoms.

According to eye specialists, who are at risk of getting glaucoma?

Like any other health condition, some people have a higher than normal risk of getting glaucoma. We have shortlisted people who are comparatively at a higher risk are:

  • Over the age of 4 years
  • Have a family history of glaucoma
  • Belong to Hispanic, African, or Asian heritage
  • have high eye pressure
  • are farsighted or nearsighted
  • have had an eye injury
  • use long-term steroid medications
  • have corneas that are thin in the center
  • have thinning of the optic nerve
  • have diabetes, migraines, high blood pressure, poor blood circulation, or other health problems affecting the whole body

Talk with an eye specialist about your risk of getting glaucoma. People with more than one of these risk factors have an even higher risk of glaucoma.


By now, you must have a clear idea of the causes and symptoms of glaucoma and have an idea about who needs to be extra careful regarding this. This said, getting glaucoma is not limited or restricted to only people having above mentioned symptoms or conditions. Anyone can get it. Therefore, it is better to take precautions. Make it a habit to visit your eye specialist regularly. This helps in the proper and timely treatment of any developing disease or eye condition.

If you are looking for a great eye consulting experience, visit Burhani Hospital.