What is Glaucoma?
Glaucoma is a group of eye disorders that cause damage to the optic nerve. The optic nerve transmits images from the retina to the brain to interpret, thereby allowing us to “see”. In glaucoma, eye pressure develops and begins to damage the very delicate nerve fibers of the optic nerve.
There’s Not Always Warning Signs for Vision-Robbing Glaucoma
Most diseases offer warning signs. That’s not always the case with glaucoma.
While the so-called Angle-Closure Glaucoma does have five warning signs, its much more common cousin – Open-Angle Glaucoma – has been known to sneak up on its victims. Because of this, it is extra important for you to schedule regular glaucoma exams with a top-ranked eye professional, especially if you have a family history of glaucoma as family history increases your risk of glaucoma four to nine times.
Angle Closure Glaucoma Symptoms
First, let’s take a closer look at Angle-Closure Glaucoma.
The 5 Warning Signs
According to the glaucoma.org website, the five warning signs and symptoms of Angle-Closure Glaucoma include:
- Hazy or blurred vision
- The appearance of rainbow-colored circles around bright lights
- Severe eye and head pain
- Nausea or vomiting (accompanying severe eye pain)
- Sudden sight loss
“Angle-closure glaucoma is caused by blocked drainage canals in the eye, resulting in a sudden rise in intraocular pressure. This is a much more rare form of glaucoma, which develops very quickly and demands immediate medical attention,” the website notes.
Open Angle Glaucoma
Now let’s take a look at Open-Angle Glaucoma, the most common form of glaucoma.
One theory has it that glaucoma is thought to develop when the eye’s drainage system becomes inefficient over time. This leads to an increased amount of fluid and a gradual buildup of pressure within the eye. Other theories of the cause of the optic nerve damage include poor blood flow to the optic nerve.
Damage to the optic nerve is slow and painless and a large portion of vision can be lost before vision problems are noticed.
The Mayo Clinic says sufferers could experience patchy blind spots in their side or central vision –a symptom that frequently occurs in both eyes. During advanced stages, you could also experience tunnel vision.
Glaucoma Treatment Options
The treatment of glaucoma is aimed at reducing intraocular pressure. The most common first line treatment of glaucoma is usually prescription eye drops that must be taken regularly.
In some cases, systemic medications, laser treatment, or other surgery may be required. While there is no cure as yet for glaucoma, early diagnosis and continuing treatment can preserve eyesight.
Patients with glaucoma need to continue treatment for the rest of their lives. Because the disease can progress or change silently, compliance with eye medications and eye examinations are essential, as glaucoma treatment may need to be adjusted periodically.
Early detection, prompt glaucoma treatment and regular monitoring can help to control glaucoma and glaucoma symptoms and therefore reduce the chances of progression vision loss.
If you are experiencing any glaucoma symptoms, we encourage you to call us ASAP for a free consultation. A simple eye exam could mean the difference between good vision and loss of vision.
If left untreated, glaucoma will eventually lead to blindness. Even with specialized glaucoma treatment, about 15 percent of people with glaucoma become blind in at least one eye within 20 years, or suffer from extremely diminished vision.
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