What is Glaucoma?
Glaucoma describes a series of conditions that cause a specific pattern of damage to the optic nerve, and gradual loss of vision. The disease usually causes an excess buildup of pressure within the eye, pressure that can eventually damage the sensitive fibers of the optic nerve.
Your eyes are made up almost entirely of water. The fluid in the eye that helps maintain the eye’s shape is called aqueous fluid, and is produced by a gland within the eye. There also exists a tiny drainage system in the back of the eye that helps regulate the flow of fluid in the eye, and thus the pressure of the eye.
If you haven’t had an eye exam in the last year, please schedule an exam today in Indianapolis with Price Vision Group. We are experienced at the detection and treatment of glaucoma, and the best way to assure yourself a lifetime of quality vision is with early detection of eye diseases through your routine examinations.
Glaucoma affects the drainage system of the eye, causing fluid buildup and pressure buildup within the eye.
Glaucoma is called the ‘silent thief of sight’ because there are no noticeable symptoms in the early stages. In most cases, people don’t realize they are suffering from the disease until they begin to lose some of their peripheral vision, at which point it is too late to reverse any of the damage already caused.
That’s why it is extremely important for everyone to maintain his or her yearly eye exams, because early detection is the best treatment for glaucoma one can undergo.
Types of Glaucoma
There are a number of types of glaucoma, all with varying causes and varying degrees of symptoms. Generally speaking, glaucoma falls into two categories:
Open-angle glaucoma – This type of glaucoma affects the eye’s drainage system, causing it to work less effectively. The result is a gradual buildup of pressure that can often go unchecked for years. This disease isn’t a concern until the pressure buildup reaches a point at which it begins to damage the sensitive optic nerve. However, once it does reach this stage, it is impossible to reverse any damage.
This disease affects the peripheral vision of a patient, but since the symptoms develop so gradually, it can actually begin stealing your vision without you ever knowing.
Angle-closure glaucoma – This is a form of glaucoma where the drainage system of the eye becomes completely blocked, unable to remove any fluid in the eye. There are numerous causes for this condition, but they all result in a sudden and dramatic increase in eye pressure. Called a glaucoma attack, angle-closure glaucoma causes sudden loss of vision, headaches, glares and halos, red eyes, nausea and vomiting.
This is a serious condition that requires immediate medical treatment to prevent any further vision loss.
Am I at Risk for Glaucoma?
- Glaucoma can affect anyone, but there are a number of risk factors that can increase your chances of developing the disease. These include:
- A family history of glaucoma
- You are of African descent
- You are of Hispanic descent
- You are over the age of 45 and have not had a recent eye exam
- You are a smoker
- You regularly use steroids
- You have diabetes
- You have suffered a previous traumatic eye injury
If you fall into any of the categories above, you are at a higher risk of developing glaucoma. Be sure and maintain a regular eye exam schedule to ensure early detection and prevention from vision loss.
How do I know if I have Glaucoma?
Since there are no early symptoms of glaucoma, people often don’t realize they have the disease until they start noticing changes in their peripheral vision, at which point it is too late to reverse.
Still, glaucoma is easily detected in its early stages through your general eye exam, and early detection can prevent any vision loss from occurring through a variety of treatments.
Treatment for Glaucoma
At this point there is no known cure for glaucoma. However there are many successful treatment options including glaucoma surgery that can effectively control the pressure in your eye and prevent any vision loss from occurring.
Treatments for glaucoma, available in Indianapolis at Price Vision Group, include:
Prescription Medicine – eye drops or pills that effectively regulate the production and drainage of aqueous fluid in the eye.
Laser Surgery – if medicines aren’t effective enough, your surgeon may perform a simple procedure in which a laser is used to open the drainage passageway. Although surgery is never the first option, this procedure is a common, minimally invasive treatment with little recovery needed and very low risk
Conventional Surgery – If other treatments don’t work, your doctor can elect to perform a trableculectomy, where he or she manually widens the drainage passageway.
Glaucoma Shunt – In this procedure, your surgeon inserts a small tube to keep the drainage passageway open. While extremely effective, it is the most invasive procedure and therefore usually the last resort.
The Most Important Factor
Although there is no cure for glaucoma, there are many successful treatments that can prevent any vision loss from occurring. But in order for this to happen, you must detect the disease early. This can only happen by maintaining your regular eye exam schedule with your doctor.