Since early damage from glaucoma is often not detectable by the patient, routine eye examinations are important to help identify risk factors and early findings of glaucoma. Your doctor may suspect glaucoma when examining your eyes, and may order special tests to investigate a possible diagnosis of glaucoma. From there, the best treatment options will be discussed.
Glaucoma is a complicated disease in which damage to the optic nerve leads to progressive, irreversible vision loss and is the second leading cause of blindness.
The most common form of glaucoma occurs when the eye’s drainage canals become clogged over time. The inner eye pressure, also called intraocular pressure or IOP, rises because the correct amount of fluid can’t drain out of the eye. With the most common form of glaucoma, the entrances to the drainage canals are clear, and should be working correctly. However, the clogging problem occurs further inside the drainage canals (similar to a clogged pipe below the drain of a sink).
Most people have no symptoms and no early warning signs. If open angle glaucoma is not diagnosed and treated, it can cause a gradual loss of vision. This type of glaucoma develops slowly and sometimes without visible sight loss for many years. It usually responds well to medication, especially if caught early and treated.
While anyone can develop glaucoma, a higher risk is associated due to family history, individuals over 40 years of age, diabetics, individuals of african or mediterranean descent, as well as those who’ve experienced an eye injury or trauma.
People with glaucoma rarely experience symptoms, but each day, their vision becomes less and less clear. For this reason, routine eye examinations are more important than ever to help identify symptoms of glaucoma. Your eye doctor can detect elevated pressure within the eye, which can cause damage to the optic nerve that carries images to the brain. Left untreated, glaucoma can cause blindness. Call your eye doctor today for more information.