Left untreated, glaucoma can cause irreversible damage, robbing you of your vision permanently. Understanding how and why this vicious disease does what it does can help you prepare yourself for any signs and inform the way you handle your own eye health.
Regular Eye Exams are Crucial to Diagnosing Glaucoma
Because glaucoma doesn’t usually show symptoms, the only way to detect it is through regular eye exams. At Complete Family Eye Care, we use our advanced technology to screen every patient for glaucoma. We’ll also make a point of talking through your results with you and answering any questions you have.
What is Glaucoma?
Part of your eye is filled with a fluid called the aqueous humour. This fluid is constantly refreshing itself; draining away as your body makes more. But sometimes, the fluid doesn’t drain properly, causing intraocular pressure (IOP) to build as your body continues to make more fluid. If the IOP level gets too high, it can damage the optic nerve, which is responsible taking information from the eyes to the brain. Once the optic nerve is damaged it cannot be repaired.
Glaucoma is sorted into different variations. Each variation is based on the reason behind the lack of proper drainage in the eye.
If the angle between the iris and the cornea is wide enough for fluid to pass through, but the drainage canals are clogged, it’s called open-angle glaucoma. This particular variation of the disease is the most common, making up about 90% of cases. It is slow but painless; building up over a lifetime.
Normal Tension Glaucoma
In normal tension glaucoma, the drainage canals are clear, and the angle between the iris and the cornea is wide enough to facilitate flow. Despite these factors, vision loss occurs. Although medical science is always moving forward, as of now, doctors still don’t know what causes normal tension glaucoma.
In most cases, glaucoma does not present any symptoms. Angle-closure glaucoma is the exception to the rule. This version of the disease occurs very quickly causing violent symptoms including nausea, severe eye and head pain, blurry vision, and excessive tearing. These symptoms are caused by the angle between the iris and the cornea suddenly closing.
Glaucoma treatment usually prevents or delays the damage associated with glaucoma. The problem is that, since patients often don’t experience symptoms, they forget to take their medication regularly; allowing the disease to progress. It’s key that you take any and all medication exactly as instructed to get the best results.
Treatment usually comes in the form of eye drops, designed to lower the patient’s IOP. However, when eye drops are not effective enough, the doctor may prescribe pills in addition to drops. There are also traditional surgery and laser surgery options available. Ask us what treatment might work best for you. We’ll give you honest answers, compassionate care, and trustworthy advice.