What is glaucoma?
Glaucoma is a group of eye conditions that cause progressively worsening damage to the optic nerve. Glaucoma can lead to impaired vision and total vision loss, if not treated.
Glaucoma is due to increased fluid pressure inside the eye, which places pressure on and damages the optic nerve. The optic nerve is responsible for sending nerve signals between the eye and the brain, and damage to its individual nerve fibers prevent accurate communication required for clear vision.
Once glaucoma damage occurs, recovering your eyesight cannot happen. Prevention and early detection are key to preventing long-term vision loss due to this complex eye disorder.
What are the different types of glaucoma?
There are several types of glaucoma. The underlying cause of increased pressure inside the eye characterizes each type.
Primary open-angle glaucoma
Primary open-angle glaucoma is due to fluid inside the eye not flowing effectively, which causes fluid build-up inside the eye.
Angle-closure glaucoma is due to a complete blockage of the fluid drainage from the eye, causing a severe build-up of fluid.
Secondary glaucoma is a side effect of other health conditions, such as eye injury, certain medications, chronic disease, or abnormalities in the structure of the eye.
Normal-tension glaucoma causes damage to the optic nerve without an increase in internal eye pressure.
Regular eye exams can detect glaucoma early before damage to the optic nerve occurs, or your vision is impaired.
What are symptoms of glaucoma?
For most, glaucoma does not show any signs or symptoms until damage to the optic nerve has already begun. Symptoms are often gradual and progressive and may include blurry or distorted vision.
Angle-closure glaucoma has a sudden onset. Sudden symptoms may include:
- Eye pain
- Eye redness
- Halos around lights
- Blurry vision or distorted vision
- Nausea and vomiting
Sudden onset of these symptoms requires immediate attention.
How is glaucoma treated?
Glaucoma is best treated with prevention, with internal eye pressure checks during your regular eye exams.
If you already have glaucoma or Dr. Smith or Dr. Gdowski diagnosis you with it, they suggest a treatment plan that may include:
- Eye drops
- Oral medications
- Laser therapy
- Drainage tubes
In order to correct underlying problems causing your glaucoma, minimally invasive procedures or eye surgery may be needed. If this is the case, your eye doctor refers you to a trusted eye surgeon.
To schedule your eye exam and glaucoma check, call 616-457-0760 or request an appointment online with Lifetime Eyecare.