Learn More About Glaucoma

Glaucoma is a serious eye condition that can lead to vision loss if not caught early on. Like with many health concerns, early detection is the key. Getting your eyes examined annually can help detect eye damage and potential blindness that can be caused by glaucoma. While symptoms can vary from patient to patient, many people don’t experience symptoms until vision loss has occurred. Learn more about glaucoma, its symptoms and how you can help prevent vision loss.

Defining Glaucoma

What is glaucoma? Glaucoma is a condition in which the pressure inside your eyes increases. The additional pressure on the optic nerve can cause eye damage and potential blindness. It is one of the trickier eye conditions because not all people experience pain or symptoms. There are two main types of glaucoma:

  • Open-Angle Glaucoma: Fluid in your eye (also referred to as aqueous) can access the drainage angle
  • Narrow-Angle Glaucoma: The drainage angle is blocked and the aqueous cannot reach it

What Causes Glaucoma?

Glaucoma is hereditary, but this doesn’t guarantee a diagnosis. It does, however, increase the chances. People without a family history may also get glaucoma and some are more susceptible than others. In some rare cases, eye surgery to correct another condition can also glaucoma. Causes and risk factors can include an eye injury, a severe eye infection, extreme inflammation or clogged blood vessels inside the eye. Both eyes will typically be infected, but one eye may be more severe than the other.

How To Prevent It

There are a few ways to decrease your chances of getting glaucoma:

  • Exercise Regularly: A healthy exercise routine can help reduce eye pressure in open-angle glaucoma patients.
  • Limit Your Caffeine: Drinking beverages with large amounts of caffeine may increase your eye pressure.
  • Sleep With Your Head Elevated: Keeping your head slightly raised has been shown to reduce intraocular eye pressure while you sleep.
  • Eat A Balanced Diet: Eating foods high in zinc, copper, selenium, and antioxidant vitamins C, E, and A have been shown to improve eye health.
  • Follow Everyday Eye Care Tips: Taking a few preventative tips, like wearing sunglasses and resting your eyes, can help keep your eyes healthier for longer.

Symptoms Of Glaucoma

Glaucoma symptoms can vary depending on the type and severity of the condition. Possible symptoms of open-angle glaucoma include:

  • Sudden blurred vision
  • Eye pain
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Tunnel vision in the later stages
  • Slow loss pf peripheral vision

People with narrow-angle should be treated immediately or blindness could occur within 1-2 days. Symptoms can include:

  • Eye pain
  • Blurred vision
  • Reddening of the eye
  • Visual disturbance
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Halos around lights

How To Treat It

Glaucoma is treated by lowering your eye pressure. Depending on the severity of your condition, our trained optometrists may recommend prescription eye drops, laser treatment, surgical procedures or a combination of any of these treatments.

Find Out If You Have Glaucoma

There are several ways that your optometrist will check for glaucoma during your annual comprehensive eye exam :

  • Visual Field Test: There are various types of visual field tests, but the purpose of each is to determine what can be seen straight ahead, below, above and to either side when focusing on a single point. This helps evaluate where your peripheral vision begins and ends.
  • Puff Test: A tonometer is used to measure your intraocular pressure where a puff of air is sent onto your eye’s surface.
  • Dilation Drops: Drops are used to dilate the pupil so that the doctor can see through your eye to examine the shape and color of the optic nerve. Then, the doctor uses a small device with a light on the end to magnify the nerve.

To test for glaucoma, schedule an eye exam today.

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