Glaucoma is a common cause of legal blindless all over the world. It can’t be prevented, but the vision loss can be dramatically slowed through preventive measures. However, this can only happen if you have regular eye exams and glaucoma is diagnosed early in its progression. Sweeney Eye Associates can assist in early detection and treatment of glaucoma and other eye conditions.
What is glaucoma?
Glaucoma is the name for a group of eye diseases that damage the optic nerve. The optic nerve carries the information from the eye to the brain, so when that nerve is damaged you can lose your vision. The exact cause of glaucoma isn’t known, but it is thought the disease is caused by high intraocular pressure in the eye, which is a characteristic of another problem known as ocular hypertension. While they are different in nature, ocular hypertension can increase a person’s risk of having glaucoma.
When left untreated, glaucoma can cause blindness. It is actually one of the leading causes of blindness in adults. It is colloquially known as the “silent thief of sight” because the condition does not usually manifest any symptoms until the disease has progressed to a point where extensive peripheral vision loss occurs.
How can I prevent glaucoma?
While glaucoma may not be preventable, the patient may slow down its progression with early treatment. This makes regular eye examinations essential for the treatment of glaucoma. During an eye consultation, the patient will undergo a series of painless tests, which include dilated eye exams, eye pressure measurements, and even visual field testing, to identify any problems in your vision. At Sweeney Eye Associates, we always remind our patients that vision loss from glaucoma is irreversible, which is why early treatment is our top priority.
What are the different types of glaucoma?
The most common form of glaucoma is primary open-angle glaucoma, which is characterized as the chronic, progressive degeneration of the eye’s anterior optic nerve. It usually affects both eyes simultaneously. Closed angle glaucoma isn’t very common in the U.S. and usually affects only one eye at a time. This less common type of glaucoma manifests several symptoms acutely, including eye pain, colored halos around lights, blurring of vision, and nausea and vomiting.
What are the treatments for glaucoma?
As vision loss cannot be reversed, glaucoma can be treated by slowing down the rate of its progression as early as possible in the disease. Usually, special eye drops are prescribed for glaucoma, which reduces intraocular pressure. These can be applied once or several times during the day, depending on the prescription. Surgery may be needed when the drops no longer have the same impact, although there are cases where surgery is the first option.