Glaucoma is a group of diseases that damage the eye’s optic nerve. Glaucoma occurs when the normal fluid pressure inside the eyes slowly rises. The eye needs a certain amount of pressure to work properly Glaucoma is often called ‘the sneaky thief of sight’. The disease has no warning signs and is one of the leading causes of blindness.
Age – With increasing age, Glaucoma becomes more common.
Family history – If a family member has Glaucoma you should have regular eye exams.
African or Spanish ancestry –Glaucoma may appear at an earlier age and be more severe.
Types of Glaucoma:
The two main types of Glaucoma are Open-angle Glaucoma, and Angle-closure Glaucoma. Both are caused by an increase of intraocular pressure (IOP), or pressure inside the eye.
Open-angle Glaucoma is the most common form of Glaucoma. At first, open-angle glaucoma has no symptoms, causes no pain, and you may not notice any loss of sight for many years. Increased eye pressure is caused by the slow blockage of the drainage canals. Without treatment; people with Open-angle Glaucoma will slowly lose their peripheral (side) vision. Gradually central vision may decrease until no vision remains. If caught early and treated, this type of Glaucoma responds well to a regimen of medications.
Angle-closure Glaucoma, can occur if your iris is too narrow and closed. If the pupil gets bigger than the iris can accommodate, or if the pupil’s size changes too fast, that causes the iris’s outer edge to bunch up and block the drainage canals. As with Open-angle Glaucoma, blocked drainage canals cause the IOP to increase rapidly, which in turn damages the optic nerve. Symptoms include severe pain and nausea, as well as redness of the eye and blurred vision. If you have these symptoms, seek medical treatment immediately.
Treatment of Glaucoma
Treatments may include medication, most commonly prescription eye drops, or surgery, such as Laser Trabeculoplasty to lower the pressure in the eye and prevent further damage to the optic nerve. There are many different types of eye drops that lower your intraocular pressure and prevent additional damage to the optic nerve. Your doctor will decide which ones are best for your type of Glaucoma. Studies show that laser surgery is very good at reducing the pressure in some patients. The effects can wear off over time however, and your doctor may suggest further treatment such as Trabeculectomy or Glaucoma Valve Implants. While there is no cure as yet for Glaucoma, early diagnosis and continuing treatment can preserve eyesight.
We are committed to ensuring the health of your eye. Our board certified ophthalmologists closely monitor Glaucoma problems when they arise, and provide treatment as needed.
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