Glaucoma is a very serious disease of the eye. Glaucoma occurs when the pressure in your eye increases, which causes permanent damage to your optic nerve. This damage can cause permanent loss of your peripheral vision. Without treatment from the Eye Care Center, it can cause tunnel vision.
Types of Glaucoma
There are two main types of glaucoma. The first is called open-angle glaucoma, and it is the more common of the two. This occurs when the drainage system in your eye doesn't work properly. The fluid drains slowly, like a slow drain in your kitchen sink. When the fluid cannot drain adequately, the pressure in your eye increases, and the pressure damages your optic nerve.
The other type is called angle-closure glaucoma. This type occurs when the drainage system in the eye becomes completely blocked, causing the pressure in your eyes to increase very rapidly.
Symptoms of Glaucoma
They glaucoma symptoms that you would experience would depend on the type of glaucoma that you have. Open-angle glaucoma often shows no symptoms in the early stages, which is why it has been nicknamed, “the silent thief of sight.” When the condition has caused you to lose your vision, it cannot be reversed.
With angle-closure glaucoma, your eye pressure increases very rapidly, which causes severe symptoms. These include:
- Severe eye pain
- Sudden headaches
- Blurry vision
- Seeing halos around lights
- Excessive tearing
- Nausea and vomiting
Glaucoma can be caught during your annual eye exam. During the exam, your eye doctor will check the pressure in your eyes. Your eyes will also be dilated to check your optic nerve for damage. If your doctor suspects that you have glaucoma, a gonioscopy will be performed to inspect your eye's drainage angle. A visual field test is necessary to see how much of your peripheral vision has been lost due to the disease. Finally, your eye doctor may want to take photos to track the progression of the disease.
While there is no cure for glaucoma, there are treatment options available to help slow the progression of the disease. In the early stages, eye drops are prescribed to reduce the pressure in your eye.
If you have open-angle glaucoma, Argon Laser Trabeculoplasty is a standard treatment method. A laser is used to open up the drainage system in your eye, helping the fluid to drain appropriately.
If you have angle-closure glaucoma, a Laser Peripheral Iridotomy can be useful. During this procedure, a laser creates a hole in the iris, which reroutes fluid in another direction, which will decrease eye pressure.
If laser treatments don't work, a trabeculectomy can help. Your eye doctor creates a tiny hole in the white of your eye so that the fluid can drain adequately.
Because glaucoma shows no symptoms at first, annual eye exams with the Eye Care Center are essential. If you live in Maple Grove, Maplewood, or Fridley, our doctor of optometry can detect the disease in the early stages. To schedule an appointment, give us a call today.