primary eye care

How Do I Know If I Have Glaucoma?

Senior woman smiling

Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of blindness in the country. It affects millions of people every year. Even scarier than that is that it has no symptoms until it has already damaged your eyesight.

That’s why it’s called the silent thief of sight. It can develop for years before you become aware of it.

And often, when symptoms cause you to go to the eye doctor, you already have irreversible eye damage. Keep reading to learn more about glaucoma and how you know if you have it.

What is Glaucoma?

Glaucoma is a degenerative eye condition that increases pressure in your eyes. This intraocular pressure, or IOP, can lead to vision loss without early intervention and treatment.

Glaucoma causes vision loss by damaging your optic nerve, which is necessary for sight. It sends light signals from your retina in the back of your eye to your brain for interpretation.

If glaucoma raises your IOP too high, the pressure presses on your optic nerve. This pressure can damage the optic nerve so much that light signals can no longer travel from your retina to your brain. At this point, you have irreversible vision loss.

Does Glaucoma Have Symptoms?

There are two primary types of glaucoma. There are other types as well, but they occur much less frequently. The main two types of glaucoma are primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG) and angle-closure glaucoma.

They have different rates of development, and symptoms become apparent at different times. The more common of the two is POAG, and it develops very slowly.

Over time it causes your IOP to rise steadily without presenting any symptoms. Then, when your IOP gets high enough, it damages your optic nerve causing vision loss.

By the time symptoms occur, it is too late. At best, you can slow down the progression of the disease to maintain some eyesight.

Unfortunately, your eyesight cannot return after losing it to glaucoma. And there is no way to stop the progression of the disease completely.

Angle-closure glaucoma does not slowly develop as POAG does. Instead, it occurs as an event that causes rapid vision loss.

Its symptoms are very apparent. They include:

These symptoms come on quickly, and if they do, you need to seek medical attention immediately. Without rapid treatment, angle-closure glaucoma can cause complete vision loss.

Can You Treat Glaucoma?

There is no cure for glaucoma once you have it. But, if you get diagnosed with it during its early stages, your eye doctor can help you treat it.

Glaucoma treatments can delay the progression of the disease and may be able to halt it. Treatments can reduce IOP and keep it low so that you can maintain your eyesight.

That is why regular appointments with your eye doctor are the only way to prevent vision loss from glaucoma. During a routine eye exam, your eye doctor checks for glaucoma.

If they detect it, they will run more thorough tests. If you’re diagnosed with glaucoma, they’ll begin a treatment protocol right away. The best defense against glaucoma is seeing your eye doctor regularly.

Do you need an eye exam? Schedule an appointment at Vision Care of Maine in Bangor, ME. Ensure you don’t have glaucoma or any other debilitating eye conditions!

woman sitting on the couch while holding a cup of coffee

Have you or a loved one found out you have glaucoma? Glaucoma is a severe threat to the wellbeing of your eyesight.

The condition damages your optic nerve, causing permanent vision loss. Glaucoma is also a progressive disease.

This means that it gets worse and worse over time. The decline in eye health is so slow and subtle that many people with the condition don’t realize it until vision loss has already occurred.

This disease is one of the best examples of why regular trips to an eye care professional are so necessary to maintaining good vision. Schedule an appointment at Vision Care of Maine today and ask for a glaucoma screening!

Glaucoma is not exclusive to the older population. But the truth is people who are over 60 are at an increased risk of developing it.

As you get older, you should increase the frequency of your eye doctor visits. Keep reading to learn more about glaucoma and if there’s an age that you should start worrying about it more!

How To Test For Glaucoma

Your optic nerve suffers damage from glaucoma due to an increase in internal ocular pressure. Often, this is caused by a partial blockage inside of the eye.

This partial blockage inside of the eye causes eye fluid to be produced faster than the eye can drain it. This is called open-angle glaucoma.

The most reliable way to test for open-angle glaucoma is by measuring eye pressure. This test is called tonometry.

During tonometry, you’ll have an instrument called a tonometer used on your eyes. After numbing your eyes with special drops, the doctor uses a pencil-shaped probe to measure the resistance.

A more modern-day version of the test utilizes a hard puff of air blown into the eye through a machine, which senses the resistance given by your eye.

In some cases, glaucoma occurs even with normal eye pressure. Doctors will also use tests to determine your field of vision, corneal thickness, and will even look directly at your optic nerve for damage.

Other Risk Factors

Age is not the only thing that causes an increased risk of developing glaucoma. If you fit one or more of the following descriptions, be extra aware of gradual changes in your vision.

You have a family history of glaucoma

If you have a family history of glaucoma, you are more likely to also develop the eye condition. Glaucoma seems to get passed down through families.

You are African American

African Americans are not only more likely to get glaucoma but they are also more likely to suffer permanent vision loss.

You have certain other health conditions

Diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease all factor into your glaucoma risk

Your eyes have previously had severe physical trauma

Blunt force trauma can cause an immediate spike in eye pressure. This can cause pressure to increase in the future, and can even dislocate the lens of the eye, blocking the drainage angle.

You use corticosteroids

Prolonged usage of corticosteroids can increase the risk of glaucoma.

Concerned about glaucoma? Schedule an appointment at Vision Care of Maine in Bangor, ME today!

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