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 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.
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.
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.
Depending on the severity and type of Glaucoma someone is diagnosed with, there are different treatment options for those diagnosed with glaucoma.
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.
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.
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!
Glaucoma is one of the most notorious eye diseases out there. That’s why it earned the nickname, “The Silent Thief of Sight”. Here’s why.
Glaucoma is a disease that damages your optic nerve. Your optic nerve sends the information detected by your eye to your brain. Although the optic nerve is made up of a thick and tough tissue, when damaged it’s not repairable.
Glaucoma is generally associated with high eye pressure. This pressure in the eye presses on the optic nerve harder and harder as it builds up, taking away vision.
The classic form of glaucoma is open-angle glaucoma, in which the build up of pressure is slow and gradual. This occurs when the interior drainage system is not draining as fast as fluid is entering.
Another more dangerous, form of glaucoma is known as closed-angle glaucoma. This occurs when that drainage system becomes blocked. This leaves no room for any fluid to escape.
This rare form of glaucoma causes vision loss to be much more rapid. Symptoms include headaches, severe pain, and blurriness.
In rare cases, glaucoma can occur without an increase in intraocular pressure. This form is normal tension glaucoma. This may happen because the patient’s optic nerve is more fragile than normal. As a result, even normal eye pressure is too much.
Glaucoma has no noticeable symptoms, except vision loss. Again, when you lose sight from glaucoma, there’s no getting it back.
Glaucoma can be tested for with a method called tonometry. Tonometry tests for abnormal eye pressure. There are two versions of tonometry: applanation tonometry and no contact tonometry.
Applanation tonometry numbs the eye and then uses an instrument to press into the cornea. This tests to see how much pressure will flatten the cornea. This type of tonometry is more involved, so it is not as popular as no contact tonometry.
No contact tonometry is the classic “puff of air” test that people dread so much during eye exams. This test involves blowing a concentrated puff of air into the patient’s eye. No contact tonometry is harmless, but it can be startling.
Since glaucoma has no noticeable symptoms, it is important to be proactive in your eye care. Schedule an annual check up with Vision Care of Maine in Bangor!
Not only is the damage done by glaucoma permanent, but the disease never goes away. Though it can’t fully be cured, glaucoma is manageable.
Treatment usually comes in the form of eye drops, though some people may prefer or need to use pills. In either case, the medication lowers eye pressure.
This is accomplished through slowing down production of fluid or relaxing eye muscles. For best results, both medications may get combined and taken together.