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!
Cataracts are inevitable. As you get older, your chances of developing them will only continue to increase. If you have cataracts, they can put a stop to some of your favorite hobbies by obscuring your vision. In addition to distorting your vision, they can make your vision look like it’s tinted yellow or brown. This can make simply trying to relax with a book exasperating and will make driving (especially at night) dangerous. Having your self-sufficiency taken away from you can be difficult and frustrating, but there is hope for you if you have cataracts. Cataract removal surgery is one of the most commonly performed surgeries, meaning it is extremely understood and safe to undergo.
A cataract is made up of proteins that exist in the nourishing fluid that flows through your eye, known as the aqueous humor. When a cataract starts forming, these proteins start clumping together on the lens of the eye. The lens is important because it helps light to focus properly on the retina. Cataract surgery isn’t necessary until your cataract starts obscuring your vision. This happens over time and causes the clump of proteins to get bigger and bigger until they block a significant amount of light. This is when a cataract is ready to be removed.
It may seem obvious that the goal of cataract surgery is to remove your cataract, but there’s more to it than that. During cataract surgery, your cataract is removed by fully removing the lens of your eye.
To remove the lens, your cataract surgeon at Vision Care of Maine will break up the lens using an ultrasonic device or laser. The broken pieces of the lens are then sucked out of your eye. After the lens and cataract have been removed, an IOL (also known as an intraocular lens) is placed into your eye to replace the lens. Your IOL will take over the job of your lens, without being clouded or obscuring your vision.
Before cataract surgery, you will discuss what kind of IOL is best for you. In addition to improving your vision, IOLs are able to correct refractive errors. There are several different kinds of IOLs available, but if you are going to cover your procedure with Medicare, the only IOL that is covered is a monofocal IOL.
A monofocal lens improves your distance vision, but you may still require the use of reading glasses if you need to see things up close after cataract surgery. Different types of IOLs have advantages and disadvantages against each other. There are a lot to choose from— multifocal IOLs that have multiple focusing ranges, accommodating IOLs that mimic the small movements of a natural lens, and Toric IOLs that can correct for astigmatism. Premium IOLs like multifocal, accommodating, and Toric lenses are a great option if you are looking for freedom for glasses after cataract surgery!
Want to learn more about cataracts or schedule your cataract surgery? Contact Vision Care of Maine to schedule your cataract surgery consultation!