Glaucoma is a very serious condition of the eye. This disease is characterized by an increase in eye pressure that causes permanent damage to the optic nerve. Because glaucoma can cause permanent vision loss, annual eye exams with Christensen Eyecare are essential.
What Are the Two Types Of Glaucoma?
There are two main types of glaucoma. The first and most common type is open-angle glaucoma. This type occurs when the drainage system of the eye cannot drain the fluid properly, similar to a slow drain. When the fluid cannot drain properly, it can cause pressure in the eyes to increase.
The second type is angle-closure glaucoma. This type occurs when the eye's drainage system becomes completely blocked, causing the pressure in the eyes to increase very rapidly.
Who Is At Risk For Glaucoma?
Anyone can develop glaucoma; however, certain factors can increase your risk of developing the condition.
- Family history of glaucoma
- Medical conditions including diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and sickle cell anemia
- Being over 60-years-old
- Extreme nearsightedness or farsightedness
- Previous eye injury
- Previous eye surgery
- Prolonged use of corticosteroids
- Being Hispanic, Asian, or African-American
What Are the Symptoms of Glaucoma?
The symptoms of glaucoma depend on the type that you have. Open-angle glaucoma shows no early symptoms, which is why it is nicknamed “the silent thief of sight.” As the condition progresses, blurry vision and loss of peripheral vision can occur.
Angle-closure glaucoma causes severe symptoms very early. They include:
- Severe eye pain
- Severe headaches
- Blurry vision
How Is Glaucoma Diagnosed?
Glaucoma can be detected during an annual eye exam. Your optometrist will measure the pressure in your eye, and perform a dilated eye exam to get a good look at the optic nerve. If your eye doctor suspects glaucoma, they will perform a gonioscopy. This test inspects the drainage angle in your eye. They will also order a visual field test, which will determine how much of your peripheral vision has been lost. Finally, photos of your optic nerve would be taken to track the progression of the disease.
How Is Glaucoma Treated?
While there is no cure for glaucoma, there are treatment methods available that can slow the progression of the disease. The treatment options include:
- Eye drops to reduce the pressure in the eyes
- Laser surgery is commonly used to open up the clogged channels to allow the fluid to drain correctly
- Trabeculectomy is a procedure where your eye doctor creates a small opening in the white of your eye to remove the trabecular meshwork to allow the fluid to drain properly
- Drainage tubes can be inserted in the eye to allow the excess fluid to drain, which would reduce your eye pressure
Because glaucoma is so severe, annual eye exams with Christensen Eyecare in Dodge City, KS are crucial. To schedule an appointment, give us a call today at (620) 227-5433.