A Guide to Glaucoma
What Is Glaucoma?
Glaucoma stems from damage to the optic nerve, which is the part of the eye responsible for sending images to the brain. The damage increases the pressure in the eye. As the pressure increases, so does the damage in the eye, which can lead to permanent vision loss or blindness. In fact, without treatment, a person may develop complete vision loss in a few years.
What Are the Symptoms of Glaucoma?
In the initial stages, glaucoma might not cause any symptoms. As it progresses, symptoms develop and get worse with time. If a patient experiences any of the following symptoms, it’s vital to report them to the eye doctor to receive treatment as quickly as possible. The sooner glaucoma is detected the less damage it does. And since the damage isn’t reversible as of yet, whatever amount of damage occurs before treatment occurs is permanent. The person may start to lose his or her side vision, also known as his or her peripheral vision, first. The person’s vision may start to decrease, but it sometimes takes years to be noticeable. Sometimes, it’s sudden. It’s possible for images to appear distorted or blurry. It’s also possible for the eye to look hazy or clouded on the outside. Somebody with glaucoma may see rainbow-colored circles around bright lights. It’s possible for the person to have severe head or eye pain. The person may experience nausea or vomiting along with the eye pain.
Who’s Most at Risk for It?
Usually, it’s an hereditary condition, meaning it’s passed on through families. For many people, even those who develop it due to genetics, don’t get it until later in life, generally when the person is over 40 years of age. That’s why people who are 40 years of age or older are encouraged to see an ophthalmologist once every one to two years. Those with health problems like diabetes may need to receive a check up from an eye doctor more frequently than that. Additionally, those who have a family history of the condition should see an ophthalmologist more frequently than just once every one to two years.
How Is It Treated?
Eye drops are usually the first treatment given by ophthalmology experts. They either increase the outflow of fluid from the eye, decrease the production of fluid from the eye or decrease the amount of drainage. Some patients require surgery to reduce the amount of pressure in the eye.
To schedule an appointment for your glaucoma or get tested, contact Carolina Vision Center, serving Fayetteville and Clinton, at (910) 485-3937.
It’s important to have regular eye exams that include measurements of your eye pressure. If glaucoma is recognized early, vision loss can be slowed or prevented. If you have glaucoma, you’ll need treatment or monitoring for the rest of your life. – The Mayo Clinic