Glaucoma Information | Eye Health
What Causes Glaucoma?
Glaucoma is a group of diseases that affect the optic nerve (the nerve that connects the eye to the brain). The optic nerve becomes progressively damaged, leading to a loss of sight. If this disease is left untreated it can lead to blindness. Eye Mart Family Vision Care tests for this disease with every eye exam.
Glaucoma is usually associated with an elevated pressure of the eye, but there are many people who show evidence of glaucoma damage with “normal” pressures. Likewise, many people have what are considered high intraocular pressures with no signs of the disease.
Risk factors for glaucoma include family history, race (with African-Americans being 3 times as likely as other races of developing the disease), age, higher intraocular pressures, and thin central corneal thickness.
The two most common types are open angle glaucoma and narrow or closed angle glaucoma, with open angle glaucoma making up more than 90% for the cases of glaucoma in the U.S. Narrow angle glaucoma is much more common in those of Asian descent. It is important to differentiate whether one has open or narrow angle glaucoma, as the treatments for each are very different.
How Can It be Prevented?
The most effective method for preventing loss of vision due to glaucoma is early detection. Be sure to have an annual evaluation. People who have family members with glaucoma are especially at risk for developing glaucoma themselves.
How is it Treated at Eye Mart Family Vision Care?
The treatment of this disease is to lower the pressure of the eye. Many studies have confirmed that the lowering of the pressure of the eye reduces the risk of eye damage from this disease.
Open angle glaucoma is usually treated with eye drops which lower the pressure of the eye. Laser surgery (trabeculoplasty), performed in our office, may also be used to improve the drainage of the fluid out of the eye, thereby lowering the pressure. In severe cases, surgery may be necessary to lower the pressure of the eye.
Closed angle glaucoma is treated with laser surgery to try to open the angle. In some people, the laser may prove ineffective and surgery may be required. Medications may also be necessary.
Once diagnosed with the disease, treatment will usually be continued for life. In some cases, especially in closed angle glaucoma, surgery may be curative. Open angle glaucoma is usually not “cured,” but can be treated in order to slow and hopefully prevent noticeable loss of vision.
If you suspect you have this disease please call or visit Eye Mart Family Vision Care today and schedule an eye exam.