The most common type of glaucoma affecting our Phoenix, Arizona, patients is called chronic glaucoma, or primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG). In a normally operating eye, fluid called aqueous humor continually flows through the eye, eventually exiting through tissue known as the trabecular meshwork. In an eye affected by chronic glaucoma, this meshwork becomes blocked or clogged and fluid is unable to flow out of the eye. Intraocular pressure increases, pushing against the optic nerve and causing peripheral vision loss.
Dr. Rick Wilson: That is a special issue. Patients with glaucoma seem to be protected early in the course of hypertension because the higher blood pressure pushes blood into the eye to the optic nerve against a higher IOP. However, if the blood pressure stays up, changes happen to the blood vessels in response to the high blood pressure that reduces flow to the optic nerve. Then, if a doctor adds medicines to combat hypertension that lowers the blood pressure, the blood pressure can drop too low and blood flow to the eye will be compromised.