Glaucoma

Hi all! Since May is Healthy Vision Month, I will be writing a few posts about common eye diseases, their symptoms, and what you can do to protect your eyes! Our vision is something that most of us take for granted, but losing it can drastically alter our life. In this first post, I will be speaking about Glaucoma, the leading cause of blindness in the United States.

What is Glaucoma?

Glaucoma is a disease that is usually caused by a gradual buildup of intraocular pressure, leading to irreversible damage to the optic nerve and blindness. The eye constantly produces more aqueous humor (fluid in the front of the eye, between the cornea and the lens). As new fluid is created, an equal amount of fluid should drain from the eye through what is known as the drainage angles. If the angle is not working properly, the aqueous fluid could build up, increasing intraocular pressure, pushing the lens back, and increasing the pressure of the vitreous humor on the retina and optic nerve. Without treatment, this can lead to irreversible blindness.

What are the symptoms of Glaucoma?

Glaucoma generally has no clear warning signs, so it is extremely important to have regular eye exams to check the overall health of your eyes! Your eye care professional can check your intraocular pressure and examine the back of your eye to check for any signs of Glaucoma and initiate a treatment plan to preserve and save your vision. As with many aspects of medicine, early detection is key! This being said, there are some signs and symptoms that could indicate that you should see your eye care professional for a Glaucoma check. If you experience, patchy blind spots, tunnel vision, severe headaches, eye pain, blurred vision, or nausea, you should make an appointment to see your eye doctor as soon as possible. Whether the underlying cause is Glaucoma or not, it is important to be examined.

 

Who is most at risk to develop Glaucoma?

  • Anyone with a family history of Glaucoma
  • African Americans over the age of 40
  • Anyone over the age of 60

Common Treatments of Glaucoma:

  • Medications (special eye drops or oral medications)
  • Laser Surgery
  • More invasive procedures

For More Information:

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