Many people have heard of glaucoma, but otherwise, they have very little idea about what this condition is and what it could mean for their vision. Glaucoma is actually the name given to a group of eye conditions in which the optic nerve becomes damaged due to an accumulation of pressure within the eye itself. If this happens, it can lead to progressive or sudden vision loss.
Glaucoma remains one of the leading causes of blindness in the world. Fortunately, with regular screening, it is possible to prevent the damage to your vision that it causes.
Many people are unaware that there are actually several different types of glaucoma, with some being more common than others.
Open-angle glaucoma is the most common variety in the United States. Patients develop open-angle glaucoma very slowly, and you may not realize you have the condition until there has been significant damage to your optic nerve.
Closed-angle glaucoma is unusual and can occur slowly or develop very suddenly, causing an acute and sudden painful accumulation of pressure inside the eye.
Secondary glaucoma occurs as a result of an eye injury or a condition such as uveitis.
Congenital glaucoma is a rare, but often serious birth defect caused by an abnormality of the eye. It may occur immediately or very shortly after birth.
As we know, glaucoma occurs when there is a build-up of pressure within the eye that leads to damage to the optic nerve. This is the nerve that transmits messages about what we can see to our brain, which then converts these messages into a defined image. Exactly what causes the pressure to build can vary, but in most cases, it occurs because the fluid within the eyes is unable to drain properly. It’s not clear why this happens, but there are certain factors that can make someone more likely to suffer from glaucoma. These include:
Being older, the risk of glaucoma increases with age.
Being of African, Caribbean or Asian descent.
Having a family history of the condition.
Being nearsighted (myopic) or farsighted (hyperopic).
Suffering from diabetes.
Glaucoma screening is included in most regular comprehensive eye examinations, although it can also be scheduled as a standalone appointment.
The exact symptoms of glaucoma can vary depending on the type that you are suffering with. Nevertheless, it is important to be aware of some of the most common indicators which can include:
Declining peripheral vision
Rainbow-colored circles around bright lights
Intense eye pain
Nausea and vomiting
If you experience any intense eye pain, you should seek the advice of our experienced eye care team immediately.
Unfortunately, it isn’t possible to reverse or restore vision loss as a result of glaucoma. This is one of the reasons why early detection is essential and helps patients to preserve their vision.
If you are diagnosed with glaucoma, there are a few things that we can do to help you. The exact treatment we will recommend will depend on the type of glaucoma that you are experiencing. These could include:
Eye drops. These are used to reduce the level of pressure in your eyes. There are different types available, and you may need to try several to find the one that is most effective for you.
Laser treatment. Laser technology can be used to open up the blocked drainage tubes so that the excess fluid can drain away. It can also be used to reduce the amount of natural lubrication being produced so that the pressure is kept firmly under control.
Surgery. If other treatments aren’t successful, we may speak to you about surgery to improve the way that the fluid drains from your eyes. However, most people find that other treatment methods are fairly successful.
If you would like more information about glaucoma, including its effects, symptoms, and treatments, please schedule an appointment at El Paso EyeCare in El Paso, TX today by calling (915) 745-7960.