Glaucoma is a leading cause of blindness in the United States. This is a serious eye condition that shows no early warning signs or symptoms. Glaucoma is a condition where the optic nerve becomes damaged and can result in blindness. Typically, elevated intraocular pressure (IOP), the pressure in the eye, is the usual cause of glaucoma. There are other causes that can contribute to the continued damage of the optic nerve.
A patient with early glaucoma will have no effect on his or her vision and is often unaware of initial vision loss. Subsequently, blind spots can develop in a patient’s peripheral vision. If left untreated, glaucoma can lead to complete blindness.
Risk Factors of Glaucoma:
- Intraocular Pressure (IOP)
- Family history of glaucoma
- African- or Spanish-American ancestry
- Prior eye injury
- Less central corneal thickness
- Farsightedness or nearsightedness
- Systemic health problems such as steroid medication, migraines or poor circulation
Types of Glaucoma
There are two types of glaucoma – Narrow-Angle Glaucoma and Open-Angle Glaucoma.
Narrow-Angle Glaucoma – this form of glaucoma can occur suddenly, when the iris (the colored potion of the eye) is pushed or pulled forward. This movement can cause internal eye structures to be blocked. When this occurs, the eye’s internal pressure may spike, causing damage to the optic nerve. Symptoms of narrow-angle glaucoma include eye pain, headaches, halos around lights, dilated pupils, vision loss, red eyes, nausea and vomiting.
Open-Angle Glaucoma – this form of glaucoma displays no signs or symptoms. Most patients that have open-angle glaucoma feel fine and do not notice any changes in their vision. In open-angle glaucoma, the angle in your eye where the iris meets the cornea is as wide and open as it should be, but the eye’s drainage canals become clogged over time, causing an increase in internal eye pressure and subsequent damage to the optic nerve.
Treatments for Glaucoma
There are several different treatment options available to help manage glaucoma. The most common treatments include laser treatment, surgery, and medications. Each of these treatments will help lower the IOP and control the glaucoma. Your OCLI ophthalmologist will determine the best procedure for the health of your eyes.
As long as you are diagnosed early, glaucoma can be controlled, and you can enjoy the rest of your life without your eye health interfering with your activities of daily living.
Schedule An Eye Exam Today
If you have a family history of glaucoma, contact the glaucoma specialists at OCLI today. We will schedule a dilated eye exam and measure the pressure in your eyes to determine if you have glaucoma.