"Sadly, open angle glaucoma can be asymptomatic in early stages. Most untreated patients do not notice any change in their vision or visual field until the damage is severe."
What is glaucoma?
Glaucoma is a disorder that results in damage to your optic nerves. This damage can lead to permanent vision loss.
There are many types of glaucoma (ex. open angle, narrow angle, pediatric, pigmentary, etc), and glaucoma can affect people of all ages.
Glaucoma is a leading cause of blindness for people 60 years and older.
What causes glaucoma?
There are many causes of optic nerve damage. The most commonly treated cause is high eye pressure. Elevated eye pressure is caused by an imbalance in the production and drainage of the fluid in your eye.
It may be helpful to image a bucket with two hoses, one for filling the bucket and one to empty the bucket. Now imaging that the hose to empty the bucket is clogged or much smaller than the hose to fill the bucket. The bucket will overflow. Unfortunately, the eye cannot overflow and the extra fluid causes the eye pressure to rise.
What are the symptoms of glaucoma?
Sadly, open angle glaucoma can be asymptomatic in early stages. Most untreated patients do not notice any change in their vision or visual field until the damage is severe. There is a select part of the population who will suffer from a specific type of glaucoma called “angle-closure glaucoma”, which can result in painful attacks that lead to vision loss.
How can I treat glaucoma?
Eye drops are commonly the first line of treatment.
In certain cases, laser may be an appropriate treatment.
This is usually the last step used to treat glaucoma and most physicians would not consider surgery unless more conservative measures have been exhausted.
Glaucoma is a lifelong disorder in most cases and will require consistent follow up with the doctor to monitor the disease.
Please contact us to make an appointment for more information.