Glaucoma is a group of eye conditions that, left untreated, can lead to blindness.
Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of blindness in people over 60. In its early stages, it has no symptoms, which is why glaucoma is often referred to as the “silent thief of sight.”
Regular glaucoma screenings are your best defense. Don’t put it off – book your eye exam at Wilkinson Eye Center now.
What Are The Symptoms Of Glaucoma?
Glaucoma has few warning signs. When symptoms do appear, the condition is usually at an advanced stage.
Typical symptoms include:
- Pain in/behind one or both eyes
- Chronic headaches
- Increasing reduction of peripheral vision
- Increased need for brighter lighting for everyday tasks
- Foggy or blurry vision
Types Of Glaucoma
There are three primary types of glaucoma, including:
Open-angle is the most common type of glaucoma. It comes about as a result of the failure of the eye’s drainage system to operate as it should. Fluid enters the system, but cannot flow properly.
This type of glaucoma occurs when the eye’s drainage system becomes clogged, which causes intraocular pressure.
Low-tension glaucoma is so named because it happens in the absence of intraocular pressure, but the optic nerve still incurs damage.
What Causes Glaucoma?
There is no singular cause of glaucoma. However, a variety of risk factors can raise the chances that a person will develop glaucoma, including:
- Being extremely near-sighted
- Genetic history of glaucoma
- Age (over 40 years of age)
- Race (African Americans over the age of 35)
- Underlying disease (diabetes)
- Poor overall health (sedentary, poor nutrition)
Making appropriate lifestyle changes may reduce the odds of developing glaucoma, barring the existence of any other, uncontrollable risk factors.
How Is Glaucoma Diagnosed?
Ophthalmologists have several tests at their disposal to diagnose glaucoma, including:
- Dilated pupil exam — where the pupils are dilated with drops so the ophthalmologist can better see into the eyes
- Eye pressure check — to determine if intraocular pressure is high
- Eye angle exam — using drops to see if the angle at the iris and cornea is open or closed
- Visual field test — multiple tests that measure vision acuity
- Measurement of thickness of the cornea — pachymetry test to see if the cornea is within normal thickness parameters
Treatment Options For Glaucoma
Damage caused by glaucoma cannot be undone, which is why treatment should begin as soon as possible.
Treatment usually consists of prescription eye drops, which help to lower pressure inside the eyes. This helps to protect the optic nerve.
Other treatment options, including glaucoma surgery, depend upon individual circumstances, including how far along glaucoma has progressed. They include:
- Trabeculoplasty. Using a laser beam, your ophthalmologist unclogs blocked channels in the trabecular meshwork.
- Trabeculectomy. Also known as filtering surgery, this surgical procedure is used to create an opening in the white part of your eye and remove part of the trabecular meshwork.
- Drainage tubes. To reduce eye pressure, your ophthalmologist inserts a small tube in the eye to drain excess fluid.
- Minimally Invasive Glaucoma Surgery (MIGS). A newer technique, MIGS refers to a group of surgical procedures that aim at reducing intraocular pressure by increasing the outflow of aqueous humor.
The sooner treatment begins, the better the outcome. Contact your ophthalmologist at Wilkinson Eye Center today to book a glaucoma screening exam.