what is Glaucoma?
Glaucoma is a set of disorders that can harm the optic nerve, which serves as the communication channel between the eyes and brain. If neglected, it can lead to permanent vision loss and/or total blindness. Glaucoma is almost always caused by abnormal pressure buildup inside the eye and is more common in patients over the age of 60. Symptoms are usually not noticeable until the later stages but often include blurry vision, eye pain, headaches, and nausea. Approximately two million people in the U.S. have glaucoma, though many of them are undiagnosed. This is why getting routine eye exams are so important. Though there is no cure for glaucoma, it can be slowed with early diagnosis and treatment. Call Baton Rouge Eye Physicians in Baton Rouge, LA today to book an appointment.
What Are the Symptoms And Causes of Glaucoma?
SYMPTOMS OF GLAUCOMA
The many kinds and severities of glaucoma typically don't have any symptoms at all in the initial stages. However, each type can also cause one or more symptoms that seem insignificant or quite worrisome. When glaucoma begins to progress, individuals often first notice issues like reduced peripheral vision, dimmed vision, migraines, and red eyes. As the disease advances even more, symptoms can include rainbows around lights, tunnel vision, vomiting, and eye pain. Since glaucoma doesn't typically present any symptoms until its advanced stages, scheduling regular comprehensive eye exams is crucial to diagnosing it early enough to manage any vision loss.
CAUSES OF GLAUCOMA
All cases of glaucoma are due to trauma to the optic nerve. Virtually always, this damage is the result of extra intraocular pressure from problems with eye fluid drainage. In normal eyes, the fluid essential to the eye tissue is able to flow back and forth through a remarkable tissue, the trabecular meshwork, that supports the area between the iris and the cornea. Sometimes, this movement can be obstructed or severely slowed, which leads to fluid buildup.
The most familiar kinds of glaucoma are determined according to the condition of the trabecular meshwork and the size of the pathway between the iris and cornea. If the fluid retention is caused by a problem in the trabecular meshwork, it is called open-angle glaucoma. If the buildup is occurring due to the width of space between the cornea and iris becoming too narrow or blocked, this is called narrow- or closed-angle glaucoma. Research data has shown that glaucoma caused by internal eye pressure can be inherited. Other than genes and age, additional factors that can raise intraocular pressure include heavy use of corticosteroid eye drops, especially thin corneal tissue, being of certain ethnic descent, and having certain health conditions, including heart disease. Nonetheless, glaucoma can be the result of problems other than eye pressure. When this happens, it is called secondary glaucoma since it is a symptom of a separate, pre-existing condition.
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diagnosis and treatment of glaucoma
Glaucoma is diagnosed with a comprehensive eye exam. During this time, we will measure the pressure inside the eye, assess the thickness of the cornea, examine the optic nerve, and check your peripheral vision. If glaucoma is detected, there are a number of therapies that can be used to successfully manage the disease. All of these techniques focus on easing pressure inside the eye to prevent further damage to the optic nerve. Mild cases are often controlled with daily eye drops while more advanced stages are treated with minimally invasive glaucoma surgery (MIGS), laser therapies, and traditional glaucoma surgery.
Frequently Asked Questions About Glaucoma
Can glaucoma affect only one eye?
Though glaucoma typically affects both eyes, one eye can be affected prior to the other one exhibiting symptoms. Since peripheral vision is often affected initially, the full extent of symptoms may not be noticeable for some time. If you are noticing any signs of glaucoma, you should schedule an initial consultation at Baton Rouge Eye Physicians to receive a thorough eye exam.
What is the difference between open-angle and closed-angle glaucoma?
The most common types of glaucoma are diagnosed based on the condition of the trabecular meshwork and the degree of the angle between the iris and cornea. If fluid retention is related to a problem within the trabecular meshwork, it is called open-angle glaucoma. If the retention is related to the pathway between the cornea and iris becoming too tight or blocked, this is known as narrow- or closed-angle glaucoma.
Does glaucoma only affect the elderly?
Studies have proven that glaucoma caused by internal eye pressure can be hereditary. Besides genetics and age, further factors that may impact intraocular pressure include excessive use of corticosteroid eye drops, having particularly thin corneal tissue, being Hispanic, Asian, or African American, and having certain medical conditions, like high blood pressure. However, glaucoma can be related to issues besides eye pressure. When this happens, it is considered secondary glaucoma because it is a byproduct of a separate underlying condition.
Take Control of Glaucoma
Baton Rouge Eye Physicians has helped countless men and women to manage glaucoma effectively with advanced eye care. Early detection and intervention is key to preserving your vision and slowing the progression of glaucoma. If you have noticed a sudden change in your vision or have a family history of glaucoma, we invite you to call our office in Baton Rouge, LA to set up an appointment.
Can I Prevent Glaucoma from Developing?
Glaucoma cannot be prevented, though there are numerous things you can do to manage this disorder, improve your eye health, and stave off vision loss.Read
Can Glaucoma Cause Headaches?
Early-stage glaucoma generally does not present symptoms, but it can cause headaches or migraines once it progresses.Read
What is Vision Like With Glaucoma?
Glaucoma causes gradual vision loss, blurriness, glare, and a narrowing of the visual field that begins with loss of peripheral vision.Read
Can Eye Drops Help Treat Glaucoma Symptoms?
Learn more about the signs and symptoms of glaucoma and how prescription eye drops can maintain your vision health.Read