What should you know about Glaucoma, the silent “thief” waiting to steal your sight?
- Glaucoma is a leading cause of blindness in people over 40. Fortunately, almost all vision loss due to glaucoma can be prevented if the disease is detected early and treated with specially prescribed medications.
- There are different varieties of glaucoma, most all of which involve a build-up of pressure inside the eye. Elevated eye pressure causes damage to the optic nerve, and if left untreated, the result is impaired vision and eventual blindness.
- Primary open angle glaucoma is by far the most common form of glaucoma. The condition is painless and develops slowly without symptoms. Most people who have it are unaware that they are being robbed of their eyesight because the vision loss is so gradual. There are no warning signs, only irreversible damage to the optic nerve by the time vision problems are noticed.
- Acute angle closure glaucoma, on the other hand, appears suddenly with severe pain and sharply reduced vision. It is often accompanied by nausea and vomiting. An urgent visit is usually required to relieve the pressure and prevent further damage to the eye.
Defending Against Glaucoma
The only defense against glaucoma is early screening as part of a regular eye examination, especially recommended for people over 40.
At Florida Eye Center, we take a comprehensive approach to evaluating and treating glaucoma. Specialty instruments are used to accurately measure the eye’s intraocular pressure (IOP), after which drops are placed to dilate the eyes in order to visually inspect the health of the optic nerves. Advanced imaging technology with Ocular Coherence Tomography (OCT) is available to help objectively assess the nerves and determine glaucoma risk. Additionally, visual field testing is performed as part of a complete glaucoma evaluation when indicated.
If the diagnosis of glaucoma is confirmed, treatment generally begins immediately. Taken faithfully, medication will usually control the eye pressure and prevent vision damage. In only a minority of cases is laser treatment or surgery necessary to relieve the pressure and arrest the disease.
Glaucoma is dangerous. It can steal your vision without warning. If you’re over 40 and have not had a glaucoma check within the past three years, we suggest you get one soon. Schedule a visit today with the one of the physicians at Florida Eye Center!