Glaucoma is a serious disease of the eye. This disease is characterized by an increase in pressure in the eye, which can cause permanent damage to the optic nerve. It is one of the leading causes of vision loss in people over the age of 60. While there is no cure for glaucoma, the doctors at North Bay Optometric Vision Center can provide treatment options to slow the progression of the disease.
Two Types Of Glaucoma
There are two types of glaucoma. The first is open-angle glaucoma, which is the most common. This type occurs when the eye's drainage system slows down, similar to a slow drain. When the fluid isn't draining fast enough, it can increase the pressure in your eye.
The second type is angle-closure glaucoma. This form of glaucoma occurs when the eye's drainage system becomes completely blocked, causing the pressure in your eyes to increase rapidly.
Risk Factors For Glaucoma
Although anyone can develop glaucoma, certain factors can put you at higher risk. These include:
- As you get older, your risk of developing glaucoma increases.
- Family history of glaucoma
- Being Hispanic, Asian, or African-American
- Being extremely nearsighted or farsighted
- Medical conditions, including diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and sickle cell anemia.
- Having thin corneas
- Eye injury or surgery
- Long-term use of corticosteroid medications
What Are the Symptoms of Glaucoma?
Open-angle glaucoma often shows no symptoms until permanent vision loss has occurred. This vision loss includes a patchy blind spot in your side vision and tunnel vision in the advanced stages.
The symptoms of angle-closure glaucoma come on suddenly, and they include:
- Severe headache
- Severe eye pain
- Blurry vision
- Halos around lights
- Redness of the eyes
- Nausea and vomiting
How Is Glaucoma Diagnosed?
Glaucoma can be diagnosed during your annual eye exam. During an eye exam, your optometrist will perform tonometry, which measures the pressure in your eyes. If the pressure is high, your eye doctor will dilate your eyes to get a look at the damage to the optic nerve. They will also take photos of your optic nerve to track the progression of the disease. They will also perform a visual field test to see how much of your peripheral vision has already been lost.
How Is Glaucoma Treated?
In the early stages, your eye doctor will prescribe medicated eye drops to reduce the pressure in your eyes.
As the disease progresses, laser surgery is an option. During the surgery, your eye doctor will use a laser to open up your eyes' drainage system, allowing the fluid to drain correctly. They can also implant a small shunt in the eye, which can drain away any excess fluid.
Finally, trabeculectomy can be performed. This is a traditional surgery where a tiny opening would be made in the white of your eye, giving the fluid a place to drain.
Call North Bay Optometric Vision Center Today!
Because glaucoma often shows no early symptoms, it is essential that you schedule annual eye exams with North Bay Optometric Vision Center in Rohnert Park. Our doctor of optometry can diagnose glaucoma and create a treatment plan to slow the progression of the disease. To schedule an appointment, give us a call today.