Glaucoma: A Serious Eye Disease
Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases that damage the optic nerve, the part of the eye that carries visual information to the brain. This damage can lead to vision loss, and in some cases, blindness.
What is glaucoma?
Glaucoma is a serious eye disease that can cause vision loss. It is caused by increased pressure inside the eye, which damages the optic nerve. The optic nerve is a bundle of nerves that carries images from the eye to the brain. When the optic nerve is damaged, it can lead to vision loss.
What are the symptoms of glaucoma?
In the early stages, glaucoma often has no symptoms. As the disease progresses, you may notice:
- Blurred vision
- Tunnel vision (seeing only a small part of your field of vision)
- Blind spots (areas of your field of vision that you cannot see)
Who is at risk for glaucoma?
Anyone can develop glaucoma, but certain factors increase your risk, including:
- Age. Glaucoma is more common in older adults.
- Family history. If you have a family history of glaucoma, you are at increased risk.
- Race. African Americans are more likely to develop glaucoma than Caucasians.
- High blood pressure
- A history of eye injuries
How is glaucoma diagnosed?
Glaucoma is diagnosed with a comprehensive eye exam. Our doctors will measure your intraocular pressure (IOP), which is the pressure inside your eye. They will also check your visual field, which is the area of your vision that you can see. If your IOP is high or you have a visual field defect, your doctor may recommend further testing, such as a gonioscopy or an OCT scan.
How is glaucoma treated?
There is no cure for glaucoma, but it can be treated. Treatment is aimed at lowering your IOP, which can help slow or stop the progression of the disease. There are a number of different treatments available, including:
- Eye drops. Eye drops are the most common treatment for glaucoma. They work by reducing the amount of fluid that is produced in the eye.
- Surgery. If eye drops are not effective, your doctor may recommend surgery. There are a number of different types of surgery available, and your doctor will recommend the type of surgery that is best for you.
How can I prevent glaucoma?
There is no sure way to prevent glaucoma, but there are a number of things you can do to reduce your risk, including:
- Have regular eye exams. The earlier glaucoma is diagnosed, the better the chances of preventing vision loss.
- Control your blood pressure. High blood pressure can increase your risk of developing glaucoma.
- Control your diabetes. Diabetes can increase your risk of developing glaucoma.
- Quit smoking. Smoking can increase your risk of developing glaucoma.
- Eat a healthy diet. Eating a healthy diet can help reduce your risk of developing glaucoma.
- Exercise regularly. Exercise can help reduce your risk of developing glaucoma.
What should I do if I think I have glaucoma?
If you think you may have glaucoma, it is important to see an eye doctor right away. Glaucoma is a serious eye disease, but it can be treated. The earlier glaucoma is diagnosed, the better the chances of preventing vision loss.