Glaucoma is a complicated disease in which damage to the optic nerve leads to progressive, irreversible vision loss. Once thought to be only a high eye pressure problem, glaucoma is now known to be a more complex condition. The most common form of occurs when the eye’s drainage canals become clogged over time.
Risk factors for glaucoma include aging, African ancestry, family history, diabetes, hypertension, and certain anatomical eye features.
People with glaucoma rarely experience symptoms and are usually unaware of their vision loss. For this reason, routine eye examinations are important to help identify symptoms of this and other conditions that cause vision loss. Your doctor may become suspicious of glaucoma during your exam and order special tests to help in making the diagnosis or ruling out another problem. From there, the best treatment option will be decided.
Glaucoma is a complicated disease in which damage to the optic nerve leads to progressive, irreversible vision loss and is the second leading cause of blindness.
The most common form of glaucoma occurs when the eye’s drainage canals become clogged over time. The inner eye pressure, also called intraocular pressure or IOP, rises because the correct amount of fluid can’t drain out of the eye. With the most common form of glaucoma, the entrances to the drainage canals are clear, and should be working correctly. However, the clogging problem occurs further inside the drainage canals (similar to a clogged pipe below the drain of a sink).
Most people have no symptoms and no early warning signs. If open angle glaucoma is not diagnosed and treated, it can cause a gradual loss of vision. This type of glaucoma develops slowly and sometimes without visible sight loss for many years. It usually responds well to medication, especially if caught early and treated.
While anyone can develop glaucoma, a higher risk is associated due to family history, individuals over 40 years of age, diabetics, individuals of african or mediterranean decent, as well as those who’ve experienced an eye injury or trauma.
People with glaucoma rarely experience symptoms, but each day, their vision becomes less and less clear. For this reason, routine eye examinations are more important than ever to help identify symptoms of glaucoma. Your eye doctor can detect elevated pressure within the eye, which can cause damage to the optic nerve that carries images to the brain. Left untreated, glaucoma can cause blindness. Call your eye doctor today for more information.