What are the First Signs of Glaucoma?
Glaucoma is a medical condition where the pressure within the eye rises, leading to damage to the sensitive structures within. This root cause of glaucoma is the buildup of excess fluid building up in the front part of the eye.
While it can occur in anyone, it’s more usually found in those aged 60+. If left untreated, glaucoma will lead to deteriorating vision and, if allowed to progress uninterrupted, has the potential to cause blindness.
The Different Disease Stages (including what are the first signs of Glaucoma that suffers become aware of)
- Stage 1: development and diagnosis
- Stage 2: progression and the manifestation of physical symptoms
- Stages 3 & 4: advanced and end-stage glaucoma
Stage 1: development and diagnosis
The healthy eye has a consistent and relatively low pressure within the chamber (between 10 and 21 mmHg). When you have an eye test, this is measured by puffing air onto the surface of the eye. It’s a crucial part of your annual or bi-annual eye exam, as any increase in the pressure signals that there might be a problem.
During this first stage, a mild increase in intraocular pressure occurs when the fluid within the eye isn’t able to drain correctly. In a healthy eye, a network of tiny drainage tubes, called the trabecular network, allows the smooth passage of fluid. Any blockage results in the pressure within the eye beginning to rise. In turn, this affects the optic nerve, which is the route that light signals entering the eye travel along to reach the brain. Here, they’re turned into the images that we perceive as vision.
There are usually no symptoms during this stage. Diagnosis usually occurs during one of those vital regular eye exams.
Stage 2: progression and the manifestation of physical symptoms
As the pressure continues to rise, so changes within the eye progress. Stage two is where you’re likely to start to notice symptoms. These include:
- Blurred vision
- Rainbow-colored rings around a light source
- Patchy vision
- Eye pain
At this point, you may well be prescribed beta-blockers or other medications, such as carbonic anhydrase inhibitors.
Stage 3 & 4: advanced and end-stage glaucoma
Stage 3 is considered to be advanced glaucoma. This is the point where other interventions will be offered. These include traditional eye drops and/or the more advanced treatments, known as dropless glaucoma therapy. How this is done depends on the level of the blockages of the drainage systems within the eye. It can be extremely successful.
Stage 4—sometimes called end-stage glaucoma—is when the healthy structures within the eye are all but destroyed. While this might not necessarily lead to blindness, there is a significant risk if the condition is allowed to evolve to this stage.
While this paints a pretty unattractive picture, it’s important to note that today’s glaucoma treatments can be extremely effective. The importance of early diagnosis can’t be over-emphasized —it’s one of the most crucial reasons why you should never skip your routine eye examinations.
According to the Glaucoma Research Foundation, around 2.3 million Americans are currently living with the condition. It’s expected that around 5% of these will eventually become blind.
From Early Diagnosis to Advanced Stage Glaucoma Treatment, Achieve Your Best Vision as the WBEC
Glaucoma care is a specialty at the West Boca Eye Center, where cutting-edge treatments, including dropless therapy, ensure you benefit from your best possible vision. While the ultimate key to great glaucoma care is early diagnosis, our expertise means that we have an armory of options available, even during the later stages of the disease.
Whether you require an urgent treatment plan or are keen to understand what are the first signs of glaucoma (perhaps there’s a family history?), then get in touch with our experienced team today.
Discover more at https://westbocaeyecenter.com/services/glaucoma-dropless-therapy/
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