primary eye care

What Causes Glaucoma?

Elderly couple going for a walk together

Glaucoma is an eye condition caused by high pressure inside the eye. It is often referred to as the “silent thief of sight” because the vision changes in the early stages of glaucoma are not usually very noticeable. 

When the eye pressure is too high inside the eye, it can lead to damage of the optic nerve. The optic nerve is the part of your eye responsible for transmitting information to your brain to create an image. 

Too much pressure on the optic nerve can lead to permanent vision loss over time. Keep reading to learn more about what causes glaucoma!

The Eye is Producing Too Much Fluid

The process of fluid creation is constantly happening inside the eyes. When there is an overproduction of fluid, the fluid can build up pressure inside the eye. This increase in pressure can reduce blood flow to your optic nerve and cause vision damage.

The Eye is Not Draining Enough Fluid

As new fluid is created, some fluid must also leave the eye to maintain a healthy eye pressure. When the fluid leaves the eye, it drains through a channel.

If the channel becomes blocked or restricted, fluid can accumulate inside the eye, increasing eye pressure. 

How is Glaucoma Diagnosed?

Although vision changes from glaucoma can easily go unnoticed, the first part of your vision to be affected is often in the peripheral vision. Peripheral vision is what you can see through the side of your eyes without turning your head. 

It is important to get routine eye exams so your eye doctor can begin treatment immediately if you have glaucoma. A thorough eye exam will check for signs of glaucoma by examining eye pressure, drainage angle, optic nerve, cornea thickness, and peripheral vision.

Eye doctors use the three primary determining factors for a glaucoma diagnosis: eye pressure, peripheral vision, and the optic nerve. Your eye doctor may ask you to do a visual field test if they think you may have some peripheral vision changes.

What Are the Treatments for Glaucoma?

Depending on the severity and type of Glaucoma someone is diagnosed with, there are different treatment options for those diagnosed with glaucoma.

Eye Drops

Most eye doctors will begin treating their glaucoma patients with eye drops. The eye drops help treat the cause of increased pressure inside the eye.

Some eye drops will help slow fluid production, and other eye drops help fluid leave the eye. The eye doctor will determine which drops will best help lower the pressure and begin treatment.

Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty (SLT)

Another treatment option to help the fluid drain from the eye is a laser procedure called a Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty (SLT). The SLT procedure creates a broader opening in the natural drainage canal using a laser to help increase the outflow of fluid.

Shunt Insertion

In the advanced stages of the condition or for those whose drops are not working, eye doctors may perform a procedure to increase the outflow of fluid. This procedure often involves creating a new passageway for fluid drainage out of the eye.

Eye doctors insert a drainage device called a shunt to allow for another passageway for the fluid to escape the eye. After this procedure, the eye pressure is closely monitored to gauge how well the shunt works.

Glaucoma may not be reversible, but it can be treated with medication if caught early enough. The best way to avoid vision loss from glaucoma is by going in to see your eye doctor routinely for eye exams. 

Are you interested in learning more about glaucoma? Schedule an appointment at Vision Care of Maine in Bangor, ME, today!

lady receiving eye exam

The short answer: Yes! Regular yearly eye exams are a part of keeping your body healthy.

Apart from vision care, there are several reasons why you need to see your eye doctor every year. Prioritizing the health of your eyes is as important as maintaining the rest of your health.

Eyes and Aging

As we age, our bodies start wearing down. Some people may experience a condition called macular degeneration during aging.

Macular degeneration is the leading cause of vision loss in the country. This condition is the result of the macula (the center of the retina) breaking down.

As the macula is breaking down, it creates blind spots in the center of your vision. Presbyopia is another naturally occurring affliction that happens as we get older.

Presbyopia is the loss of the ability to focus on things close to our eyes such as screens, text or even faces. The effects of presbyopia usually begin around the age of 40.

Even if you’ve never needed glasses, presbyopia is something that everyone will experience. Cataracts and glaucoma also become more common as we age. Seeing your eye doctor is the only thing that will help you figure out the best way to restore your vision.

Eyes and Disease Detection

It’s said that our eyes are the windows to the soul. But they can also be windows into the state of our health. A lot of illnesses and diseases show symptoms through the eyes first.

They can often even be detected during an eye exam. For example, you can detect diabetes by examining the blood vessels in your retina.

Having regular eye exams makes a big difference! It can prevent diseases and conditions of the eye, and can show other early conditions.

Eyes and Children

Keeping regular eye exams scheduled for children is also important. Due to an increase in screen time, myopia is becoming more prevalent in children.

A large number of learning disabilities in children is because of vision impairment. Over fifty percent of materials in school are visual, making eye exams crucial.

If you want your children to succeed, having healthy eyes is a must! The best way to ensure this is to take them to regular eye exams every year.

Scheduling Your Exam

There are many different places to schedule a comprehensive eye exam. Depending on your needs, you may visit an independent practice or a medical facility.

Before scheduling, you should do research to find one that’s affordable and convenient. You may need to visit several practices before you find one that’s right for you!

Can’t remember the last time you had an eye exam? It’s never too late to have one! If you’ve noticed changes in your vision, or experience pain, schedule an appointment. This could be a medical emergency that requires immediate attention.

Ready to get on the road to healthy vision? It’s easy! Contact Vision Care of Maine in Bangor, ME and schedule an appointment with us today!

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