Glaucoma: Types, Treatments, Symptoms

Looking for more information on glaucoma? Often called the silent thief of vision due to its ability to progress undetected without any symptoms, glaucoma is one of the leading causes of vision loss in Canada. Which is why regular glaucoma screening and annual eye exams are so important. 

Glaucoma encompasses a group of different eye diseases that cause damage to the optic nerve, which often result in vision loss if left untreated. Having everything to do with the pressure within the eyes, glaucoma can be present in patients for a long period of time before they detect anything is wrong or begin experiencing symptoms. That's why it's always important to have an annual eye exam which includes glaucoma screening, especially as you get older. 

For more on this group of eye conditions which are a leading cause of vision loss in Canada, we turn to our optometrist in SE Calgary for this week's article.

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Specs in the City Optometry provides children, adult, and senior eye exams in SE Calgary to help safeguard your sight and overall ocular health. Our experienced optometrists use the latest in technology to quickly and accurately diagnose any eye conditions you may be suffering from, so treatment may commence right away. Contact us today to book your eye exam and let us help you adjust your focus so you can see clearly again! 

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Glaucoma: Types, Treatments, Symptoms

A definitive cause for glaucoma is still elusive. While the medical community is not clear on what causes this group of eye conditions, we do know there are four different forms the disease takes. They are:

Open-angle glaucoma

Open-angle glaucoma is the most common type of glaucoma. It happens when there is either too much fluid being produced in the eye, or when the regular draining capabilities of the eye are compromised. Both situations result in increased pressure being placed upon the optic nerve, leading to damage. Our optic nerve is responsible for translating everything we see to our brain, so when it becomes damaged the communication between the two organs starts to deteriorate. This is how vision loss occurs. For those with open-angle glaucoma, the first symptom is generally a loss of peripheral vision followed by a loss of central vision as the glaucoma progresses.

Angle-closure glaucoma

This form of glaucoma actually falls under the category of an eye emergency because vision loss can occur within a day if it is left untreated. Angle-closure glaucoma occurs when the mechanism with which fluid regularly drains from the eye is blocked or somehow closes itself off. Due to the fact the liquid within the eye is unable to drain properly, pressure within the eye builds up and the optic nerve can potentially become damaged.

Secondary glaucoma

Secondary glaucoma can be caused by numerous things, and as its name suggests, it results when something else has first happened. The most common causes of secondary glaucoma include injuries and infections near the affected eye. These injuries or infections lead to increased pressure within the eye, resulting in damage to the optic nerve.

Normal tension glaucoma

Normal tension glaucoma is not well understood by the medical community at this time and remains somewhat mysterious. Fluid levels within the eye remain in the normal range, yet damage to the optic nerve occurs. It is not known yet why this happens. 

Need glaucoma screening Calgary? Specs in the City has you covered with our vision field testing and other examination techniques. Contact us today to book a comprehensive eye exam and get the critical glaucoma testing your eyes deserve. 

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Depending on which type of glaucoma a patient is suffering from, symptoms can vary greatly as seen below. 

Open-angle glaucoma symptoms

  • Loss of peripheral vision
  • Loss of central vision

Angle-closure glaucoma symptoms

  • Eye pain
  • Severe headache
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Blurry vision
  • Red eyes


When it comes to treating glaucoma, it's important to know that the main methods of doing so are only successful at maintaining the current level of vision within a patient and not recovering it. This means that vision loss caused by glaucoma is considered irreversible. The main methods of treatment for glaucoma include:

  • Eye drops 
  • Medication 
  • Surgery

All the above treatment measures aim to reduce the build up of pressure within the eye. As mentioned, they are only effective at mitigating or slowing down the progression of glaucoma in a patient and do not reverse any vision loss or damage that has already occured. 

Due to glaucoma's insidious nature and ability to go undetected for so long before causing any symptoms, having an annual comprehensive eye exam that includes glaucoma screening is critical to protecting your vision and overall ocular health. Contact us today to book your eye exam in SE Calgary and let's keep you seeing clearly for years to come.

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If you need glaucoma screening, our Calgary optometrists at Specs in the City have you covered. Simply give us a call at 403-252-2020 or fill out our online contact form to book your appointment today. 

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