Glaucoma refers to a group of eye conditions that damage the optic nerve and lead to reduced vision or even blindness. Early onset glaucoma is a term that refers to glaucoma in individuals under the age of 40. While this condition is extremely rare, it can occur in individuals during their twenties. Fortunately, early onset glaucoma can be treated and remaining vision can be salvaged when the disease is caught in the early stages. For more information on early onset glaucoma, continue reading below.
What is early onset glaucoma?
Glaucoma normally develops in older adults. Early onset glaucoma refers to the extremely rare types of glaucoma affecting patients before age 40. There are two types of early onset glaucoma:
- Primary congenital glaucoma refers to glaucoma cases in patients younger than age 5. Primary congenital glaucoma affects about 1 in 10,000 people. It is a condition in which a structural abnormality impedes or stops fluid in the eye from properly draining. These abnormalities usually cause problems in the first year of a person’s life.
- Primary open-angle glaucoma (or juvenile open-angle glaucoma, when found in children and young adults) is very uncommon. It is a condition in which the eye does not properly drain fluid, leading to a continual build up in pressure that eventually damages the optic nerve. This is likely the only type of glaucoma that could possibly affect patients in their twenties.
What causes glaucoma in patients in their twenties?
Experts agree that early onset glaucoma is largely caused by genetics. In many patients with juvenile open-angle glaucoma, mutations in certain genes can cause problems with the regulation of eye pressure. This leads to the build up of fluid, which eventually damages the optic nerve.
What are symptoms of early onset glaucoma?
While other types of glaucoma may have very obvious symptoms, open-angle glaucoma is often unnoticed in the early stages. Pressure builds very slowly in the eye and may be difficult to notice. Most people with open-angle glaucoma do not have symptoms until much later in the disease’s progression. The most well-known symptom is a loss of peripheral vision. In the late stages, the disease causes blindness, which is irreversible. The only way to know for certain that you do not have early onset glaucoma is to have a comprehensive eye exam.
How is early onset glaucoma treated?
Glaucoma is treated by reducing the pressure in the eye. This can be done with medicated eye drops, oral medication, laser eye surgery, or microsurgery. Depending on your unique situation (and considering your age), your doctor may prescribe any combination of these treatments. While the nerve and vision damage from glaucoma cannot be reversed, treatment can save the vision that remains.
Early onset glaucoma treatment at Louisiana Eye & Laser
At Louisiana Eye & Laser, we have treated countless glaucoma patients throughout the years. While we are able to provide the best glaucoma treatments available today, regular eye exams are a vital part of catching glaucoma in the early stages. To schedule an eye exam, you can call, fill out an online appointment request, or stop by one of our 14 Louisiana offices.
While glaucoma is very rare in patients in their twenties, our experts have seen it all and they are happy to help you gain some peace of mind Whether you just need to schedule your next eye exam or if you need treatment, the eye doctors at Louisiana Eye & Laser are here to help. Don’t let glaucoma prevent you from having the clear vision you deserve – just stop by, give us a call or schedule an appointment online!