primary eye care

What Causes Glaucoma?

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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!

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!

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Glaucoma is a complicated condition with several different types. The most common form of glaucoma is primary open-angle glaucoma.

Primary open-angle glaucoma threatens your vision permanently, while also being almost undetectable. It does not cause any pain or other noticeable symptoms.

It causes you to lose your sight so slowly that you may not even know that it is worse until it is too late. To detect glaucoma, you need to schedule regular eye appointments.

You can do this right now at Vision Care of Maine, located in Bangor, ME.

While the most common form of glaucoma has no symptoms, there are other kinds of glaucoma. Keep reading to learn more about them!

Narrow-Angle Glaucoma

Primary open-angle glaucoma happens because fluid inside of the eye becomes slowed down. This is usually due to a slight clogging of the drainage meshwork.

This causes pressure to slowly build up, damaging the optic nerve in the process. The optic nerve is a vital line of communication between your eye and your brain.

It can be quite resilient, but the ever-increasing pressure of the eye will eventually wear on it.

Contrast this kind of glaucoma with the more dangerous, narrow-angle glaucoma. In this kind of glaucoma, the drainage system is completely cut off.

Narrow-angle glaucoma causes eye pressure to spike sharply in a very short amount of time. This causes symptoms like extraordinary pain, severe headaches, nausea, and seeing rainbow-like halos.

This kind of glaucoma is a medical emergency. You should seek emergency care immediately if you are experiencing these symptoms.

Normal-Tension Glaucoma

Glaucoma is usually identified by detecting an elevated level of eye pressure. In rare cases, glaucoma can even occur in eyes that have what seems like normal eye pressure.

This is a kind of glaucoma called normal-tension glaucoma. Normal-tension glaucoma seems to occur due to having an oversensitive optic nerve. It seems that having a low blood supply to the optic nerve may also play a role.

Secondary Glaucoma

In some cases, glaucoma can develop as part of another condition. This includes chronic inflammation, severe eye injuries, and tumors. If this happens, you have secondary glaucoma.

How To Treat Glaucoma

To combat glaucoma, you need to reduce internal eye pressure levels. This is generally accomplished with medicated eye drops that relieve pressure.

They do this by relaxing muscles inside of the eye or by reducing the production of fluid inside of the eye. These drops may be taken in tandem with oral pills that enhance the effects.

Depending on the severity of your glaucoma, you may need surgery. You’ll need to continue taking eye drops after to maintain healthy eye pressure.

Any damage done by glaucoma is permanent, including vision loss. The earlier you get it under control, the more vision you will be able to save.

Concerned that you may have glaucoma? Schedule an appointment at Vision Care of Maine in Bangor, ME today! Your eyesight and being able to see is worth it, so don’t delay!

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