Glaucoma describes eye disorders that involve damage to the optic nerve, which sends visual signals from your eye to your brain. This loss of nerve tissue can result in loss of vision.
Primary open-angle glaucoma is one of the most common disorders. It results from an increased pressure inside the eye, which can cause damage to the optic nerve. A damaged nerve can lead to vision loss or even blindness. This pressure can build slowly and be difficult to detect in everyday life. It may start by affecting only your peripheral vision.
Pressure is not the only indicator of glaucoma, as high pressure does not always lead to glaucoma and glaucoma can develop in spite of normal eye pressure. Anyone can develop glaucoma, although it is most common in people over 40.
Acute angle closure glaucoma is not as common, but can develop much more quickly. If you are experiencing intense eye pain, redness in your eye, blurred vision, or nausea, you may need immediate medical attention. This form of glaucoma is an emergency and needs to be treated right away.
There is no way to completely prevent glaucoma, but early diagnosis and treatment can help control the condition and limit its effects. Often times medication or surgery can help reduce the damage, but glaucoma cannot be reversed. For this reason, at Central Iowa EyeCare we regularly test for glaucoma and recommend frequent eye exams. Factors such as age, race, family history, and previous medical conditions can all contribute to developing glaucoma.
At Central Iowa EyeCare we use tonometry to measure the pressure inside your eye and pachymetry to measure corneal thickness. We also examine your field of vision and the retina of your eye.
Treatment for glaucoma may start with prescription eye drops that help manage the pressure in your eyes. Other treatments may include medication, surgery, or implants. Because treatment is ongoing, it is important that your optometrist detect any changes in your eye health. Regular eye exams are essential to managing glaucoma, which is a lifelong issue.