All About Glaucoma.
Updated: Apr 11
An estimated 3 million Americans have glaucoma, but only half of those with the disease know that they have it. Glaucoma is a slow-moving, often painless condition that is the leading cause of blindness around the world. Although there is no cure for Glaucoma, it’s important to catch the symptoms early so your eye doctor can help slow down the process and preserve your vision.
What is Glaucoma?
Glaucoma is a disease that produces increased pressure within the eye due to a backup of fluid. With time Glaucoma damages the eye’s optic nerve and can result in vision loss and blindness. Luckily, with early detection and treatment, eyes can be protected against serious vision loss.
How Does Glaucoma Damage the Optic Nerve?
Imagine your eye as a sink where the drain is always open and the faucet is always running. In open-angle glaucoma, the fluid in the eye passes too slowly for it to properly drain. The fluid then begins to build up increasing the pressure inside the eye, this pressure damages the optic nerve.
Despite the main cause of Glaucoma being an increase in eye pressure, not every person with increased eye pressure will develop the disease. Some people have the ability to tolerate high levels of pressure better than others. Glaucoma develops depending on the level of pressure your optic nerve can withstand without becoming damaged.
In addition to open-angle Glaucoma, blood pressure can also result in optic nerve damage. Because of this, it’s important to have a medical doctor confirm that your blood pressure is at an appropriate level for your body.
Who’s at Risk?
Anyone can get Glaucoma; however, some people are at higher risk than others:
People over 60 years, especially Hispanics
African Americans over 40 years
People in families with a history of Glaucoma
An exam with an eye care professional can help determine more risk factors such as high eye pressure, abnormal optic nerve anatomy and the thinness of the cornea.
In the early stages, Glaucoma has little to no symptoms and vision stays the same. However, without treatment people with Glaucoma slowly begin to lose their vision. Vision loss often begins in the peripheral vision resulting in the inability to see objects out of the corner of one’s eye. It can appear as if you’re looking through a tunnel and with time central vision can decrease until no vision remains.
Unfortunately, there is no cure for Glaucoma and the resulting vision loss cannot be restored. However, there are a few treatment options to help delay the progression of the disease:
Medicines such as eye drops or pills can help lower eye pressure and cause the eyes to produce less fluid.
Laser trabeculoplasty helps drain fluid from the eye and can be suggested by your doctor at any time.
Surgery can be performed to make a new opening for the fluid to leave the eye.
If you’ve experienced vision loss due to Glaucoma, ask your eye doctor for more information about low vision services. Call Baldwin Eye Care, LLC to schedule an appointment with your eye care professional. It’s important to seek a professional diagnosis to determine the correct cause of your symptoms.
Baldwin Eye Care LLC - Caring for your eyes, total I care health. Staff@BaldwinEyeCareLLC.com