Glaucoma: Causes, Treatments & Prevention
Glaucoma is a disease of the eye and one of the leading causes of blindness. In the United States, close to 2 million people suffer from it and its symptoms - some of them not even aware that they have it. Glaucoma can cause steady loss of peripheral vision, and can move slowly inward toward your essential central vision as it progresses.
Glaucoma is generally caused by high pressure within the eye. This pressure comes from an obstruction of the normal outflow of fluid from the eye. When this type of blockage occurs, it can damage the optic nerve – the main transmitter of visual information from the eye to the brain. The entire process may take years to be complete, but you should always consult an eye doctor if there are any significant changes in your vision at all.
How Can I Tell If I have Glaucoma?
The main way to tell if you have glaucoma, or any of its symptoms, is to attend regular visits with our trained eye care professionals. During your visit, you will be tested with a device called a Tonometer. This device will examine your optic nerve and the level of pressure within. If the doctor suspects that there is anything amiss, with either your nerve or the pressure, we will generally order a Visual Field Test for you as soon as possible.
This Visual Field Test will examine your peripheral vision – the thing most affected by the early stages of glaucoma. New technologies – such as the HRTII Test – will make it easier to detect any signs and begin the best treatments for your level of the affliction.
What Are the Best Treatments?
Open angle glaucoma, one of the most common forms of glaucoma, is usually treated with medicinal eye drops to lower the pressure on the optic nerve. There are also medicines that can be taken orally to drop the pressure as well. The other surgical form of glaucoma treatment is SLT surgery. This procedure open drainage channels for the eye fluid, and maintains a normal level of optic nerve pressure.
Can Glaucoma Be Prevented?
There are things you can do on your own to prevent glaucoma. Study up on your own family history to see if there are aby previous signs of it, and come see us at Reed Eye Associates for routine screenings. This will allow us to provide you with the most comprehensive tests.