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What Are the Stages of Glaucoma | White Plains Eye Care

What Are the Stages of Glaucoma?

glasses and lenses for vision correction and a table for checking vision on a light background.

Glaucoma occurs due to optic nerve damage, usually caused by abnormally high eye pressure. The optic nerve is central to a person’s good vision. Glaucoma is most common among people over 60, but it can develop regardless of an individual’s age. It is a leading cause of vision loss among the elderly.

In most cases, glaucoma does not have warning signs. The condition develops gradually, so the patient may not notice changes in vision until it is advanced. Vision loss as a result of glaucoma cannot be reversed.

Types of Glaucoma

Glaucoma presents itself in the following ways:

  • Open-angle glaucoma.

  • Normal-tension glaucoma.

  • Angle-closure glaucoma.

  • Pigmentary glaucoma.

  • Glaucoma in children.

Symptoms of Glaucoma

The symptoms experienced will depend on glaucoma the patient has. In most cases, there are no symptoms in the early stages of the disease. As the condition worsens, the patient may experience a number of symptoms.

These include eye pain, headaches, nausea, blurry vision, patchy blind spots, bloodshot eyes, and tired eyes. Scheduling regular eye exams will help diagnose the condition early enough to manage it and prevent vision loss.

Causes of Glaucoma

Glaucoma results from optic nerve damage. As the nerve continues to deteriorate, the patient develops blind spots in the visual field. The cause is not quite clear, but nerve damage is often related to increased eye pressure. An increase in eye pressure is usually due to fluid buildup flowing inside the eye.

This aqueous humor fluid should drain out through the trabecular meshwork tissue at the point where the iris and cornea join. When there is overproduction of fluid or when the drainage system fails to work normally, it increases pressure.

Stages of Glaucoma

Glaucoma develops in different stages:

  • Stage one is characterized by a change in the drainage system that leads to an increase in intraocular pressure.

  • Stage two occurs when there is a noticeable change in vision that causes symptoms such as blurry vision or eye pain.

  • Stage three occurs when there is a significant increase in eye pressure. At this stage, glaucoma is quite advanced.

  • Stage four is characterized by damage to the optic nerve. This is a situation that will need to be corrected for the patient to continue functioning normally.

  • Stage five is the last stage where vision loss occurs.

Diagnosing Glaucoma

Eye doctors perform several tests to diagnose glaucoma. During the diagnosis, the doctor will use eye drops to numb the eye before testing. After anesthetizing the eye, the doctor will carry out a number of tests.

Tonometry calculates eye pressure, Pachymetry measures cornea thickness, and Gonioscopy measures the angle between the iris and cornea. The doctor might also inspect the condition of the optic nerve and test for vision loss.

Treatment of glaucoma will depend on the type and the stage of the condition. It is important to ensure you get regular eye exams so that glaucoma is detected in the early stages.

​​​​​​​For more on the stages of glaucoma, visit Maple Eye and Laser Center at our offices in White Plains or Manhattan, New York. You can call 914-948-5157 today to book an appointment.