What is glaucoma?

Glaucoma is a condition that damages the optic nerve through the buildup of fluid pressure in the eye. Older adults are more commonly diagnosed with glaucoma, but it can happen at any age. The effects of glaucoma can be gradual, showing no real symptoms until it’s reached a more advanced stage.

Glaucoma can lead to the loss of peripheral vision and complete blindness if left untreated. Early detection of glaucoma is critical in preserving your vision and slowing the effects of this condition.

What are the symptoms of glaucoma?

Glaucoma often has no symptoms until it’s well advanced, which is why regular screening is so important. With some forms of glaucoma, patients will experience patchy blind spots in their peripheral or central vision. That can affect one or both eyes, eventually leading to tunnel vision. Other symptoms of glaucoma include:

  • Headaches
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Eye redness
  • Eye pain
  • Blurred vision
  • Halos when looking at lights

What is the cause of glaucoma?

Glaucoma occurs due to excessive eye pressure directly related to fluid build up, and that pressure damages the optic nerve over time. Damage to this nerve causes deterioration, which, in turn, leads to the loss of vision.

Glaucoma has a tendency to run in families, meaning that you’re at risk if you have a family member who’s had the disease. People over the age of 60 also have a higher risk of glaucoma, as do people with pre-existing eye conditions.

How is glaucoma treated?

Glaucoma treatment at Founders Eyecare starts with a complete eye examination and a screening test to measure the intraocular pressure and optic nerve damage. Dr. Raffa and Dr. Ragsdale will develop a plan to decrease the pressure on your optic nerve by regulating the fluid in your eye. Prescription eye drops, such as prostaglandins, will increase the outflow of fluid while beta blockers will reduce the production of it. Prescription oral medication may be needed if the eye drops prove ineffective, though.

Other possible treatments include laser therapy to open clogged channels in the drainage system or other forms of surgery aimed at removing parts of the drainage system. It may take a combination of multiple interventions to slow the progression of glaucoma and prevent blindness.

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