Glaucoma is a disease that has the very real potential to significantly impair your vision. Left unchecked, it can cause tunnel vision or even complete vision loss. If you have recently received a glaucoma diagnosis, or you are noticing changes to your vision and are frantically searching the internet for answers, it can feel overwhelming, intimidating, and scary. We understand.
This means that we can stabilize the disease and mitigate the potential damage to your vision. While it is true that vision already lost to the disease can’t be restored, in most cases we are able to prevent further vision loss and preserve your remaining sight.
It goes without saying that early diagnosis and action is essential.
The worst part about glaucoma isn’t always the disease itself, but the fear and uncertainty that surrounds it. Working together, we will provide you both clarity and peace of mind- we are here to support you.
Call us to schedule an appointment, or request your appointment online.
Glaucoma is a serious, vision-threatening disease that affects millions of Americans. Glaucoma isn’t a singular disease but rather a grouping of related eye diseases (similar in nature to the term diabetic eye disease). However, with proper support and management, its effects can largely be mitigated.
Causes – The primary cause of glaucoma is abnormal intraocular pressure (IOP). When your IOP is high it causes damage to the optic nerve. Think of the optic nerve as the highway that information from the eye uses to travel to the brain. When this highway is damaged, less information is able to reach the brain. With enough damage, the highway closes and the flow of information is cut off.
Symptoms – Unfortunately, glaucoma is sneaky. It’s silent. It’s a master-thief and is able to develop without obvious symptoms (most of the time, keep reading). This means that you are unlikely to notice something is wrong until you see an obvious change to your vision (usually in the way of reduced peripheral vision, AKA, tunnel vision). This is the case in 90% of glaucoma cases and the primary reason that 50% of people that have glaucoma don’t know it.
The exception is acute angle-closure glaucoma, where a sudden onset of symptoms (most notable being eye pain, nausea, a sudden appearance of floaters, and sudden vision loss) indicates that something is very wrong. If you are experiencing these symptoms, visit a hospital immediately.
Open-Angle Glaucoma – The most common form of glaucoma (with an estimated 90% of cases), open-angle glaucoma forms when the eye’s drainage canals slowly clog, raising IOP. An estimated 3 million Americans have this version of glaucoma.
Angle-Closure Glaucoma – A much more rare version of glaucoma, this version is marked by sudden (and serious) symptoms that require immediate medical intervention.
Normal-Tension Glaucoma – In this version of glaucoma, the disease progresses despite IOP being within normal levels.
Congenital Glaucoma – This form of glaucoma is a result of the eye’s drainage canals developing improperly while the baby is in the womb. This form occurs in childhood and can usually be corrected with surgery or medications.
Eye drops – Medicated eye drops are often sufficient for regulating IOP, controlling the glaucoma and mitigating the effects of the disease.
Oral medications – If eye drops alone are insufficient, oral medications may be used to help regulate IOP.
Surgery – Laser surgery can be performed to widen the drainage canal and promote proper IOP. Surgery is only done in advanced or complicated cases where medications prove to be insufficient.
This alarming statistic speaks to the true danger that glaucomas represents. Unlike an illness (such as the flu), glaucoma affords no symptoms to act as an early warning. There’s no pain (in 98%+ of cases) and no warning.