Glaucoma is an eye disease that leads to damage of your optic nerve. As the nerve deteriorates, you begin to have blind spots in your visual field and in some cases glaucoma can lead to severe vision loss, if it goes undetected. For this reason it is extremely important to schedule routine examinations with your ophthalmologist in Tucson.
Causes of Glaucoma
Although it is not fully understood how it occurs, ophthalmologists have found that the damage to the optic nerve is generally related to an increased pressure in your eye. This elevated eye pressure is caused by a buildup of aqueous humor (a fluid) that flows in and around your eyes. Aqueous humor typically drains into the front of your eye through tissue in the area of the iris and the cornea. If there is a problem with the drainage system or there is an excessive amount of fluid produced, it prevents the fluid from flow at a normal rate, which causes the pressure to build up. There are several types of glaucoma, including:
- Open-angle glaucoma which is the most common form of glaucoma
- Angle-closure glaucoma which occurs when your iris bulges forward and blocks the drainage, so the fluid cannot circulate which causes the pressure to increase
- Normal-tension glaucoma, which means the optic nerve has been damaged; however, the eye pressure remains within the normal range
Who is Typically Affected by Glaucoma?Chronic types of glaucoma can completely destroy your vision before there are any apparent signs or symptoms, so it is essential that you make an ophthalmology appointment if you suspect you may be a risk. There is a significant risk of being affected by glaucoma for those who:
- Are aged 60 and over
- Have high intraocular pressure
- Have a family history of glaucoma
- Have certain medical conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes, sickle cell anemia and high blood pressure
- Have nearsightedness
- Have taken corticosteroid medications for a long period of time
Symptoms and Signs of Glaucoma
The symptoms and signs may vary depending on the stage and type of your glaucoma; however, if you are experiencing any of the following signs, you should schedule an appointment with your ophthalmologist as soon as possible.
- Signs and symptoms of open-angle glaucoma may include patchy blind spots in your peripheral or central vision and/or advanced stages of tunnel vision.
- Symptoms of Acute angle-closure glaucoma may include eye pain, severe headaches, blurred vision, eye redness, nausea and/or vomiting and halos around lights.
How Our Ophthalmologists Diagnosis, Treat and Manage Glaucoma
When you arrive at your ophthalmology appointment, your doctor will first review your medical history, followed by a comprehensive eye exam, which may include tests to measure the intraocular pressure, test for optic nerve damage, check for vision loss, inspect the drainage angle and measure the thickness of your cornea. The primary goal of treatment is to lower the pressure in your eye. The treatment will depend on your specific situation and may include:
- Eye drops which may help decrease the pressure in your eye by improving how the fluid drains.
- Oral medications may be prescribed if the eye drops do not bring the eye pressure down to a desired level.
- Other treatment options may include various surgical procedures and/or laser therapy.
Schedule an eye exam with your local eye doctor to treat glaucoma
It is extremely important to understand that the damage glaucoma causes cannot be reversed. However routine ophthalmology examinations and treatment may help to slow down or prevent vision loss, especially if the disease is caught in the early stage. It is typically recommended that those who are age 40-65 should have regular annual eye exams. Contact us today to schedule your comprehensive eye exam at 520-293-6740.