Glaucoma is a serious eye condition that can, if left untreated, cause blindness. While it is a fairly common condition, if you’ve been diagnosed then it can be a worrying time. The good news is that there are several ways to treat the condition and they are generally very successful.Because the condition is so widespread, every routine eye check includes a simple test that looks for the condition. However, with many of us only having such examinations every two years, it’s good to be aware of the symptoms. The following provides a good overview of glaucoma, including exactly what it is, the symptoms, and the clinical interventions that can slow or reverse its progress.
Glaucoma: all your questions answered
- What is glaucoma?
- Glaucoma symptoms?
- Glaucoma treatment
What is glaucoma?
Glaucoma is caused by raised pressure within the eye. This happens when the fluid within it fails to drain correctly. The resulting pressure damages the optic nerve—the pathway along which light signals travel to the brain. Over time, this damage can become irreversible, causing reduced vision and, eventually, total loss of sight. There are different types, with the most occurring in both eyes and developing slowly. However, in rare cases it can come on very quickly—something that’s considered a medical emergency.
With the most common types, glaucoma doesn’t tend to have symptoms in the early stages. As mentioned earlier, the first most people know about it is when the condition is picked up at an eye appointment. As the condition develops, patchy blind spots begin to develop in your peripheral vision. You might also experience generalized blurred vision and/or halos around lights. As it progresses, these problems can extend to the central vision. The rare type of glaucoma that can develop very quickly is known as “acute angle-closure glaucoma”. Symptoms of this include:
- Intense eye pain
- Red eye
- Nausea and vomiting
- Blurred vision
- Seeing rings around lights
- Tenderness around the eyes
Should you experience any sudden onset of such symptoms, you should urgently seek medical attention.
The most common type of glaucoma is called “primary open-angle glaucoma”. Treatments vary, but most ophthalmologists will use a stepwise approach–starting with the simplest and progressing to more invasive procedures, should they become necessary.In general, the following methods will be used:
- Eye drops: to reduce the pressure within the eye
- Medication: Often used in combination with eye drops
- Laser treatment: There are different types of laser treatment. These are normally carried out in the doctor’s office on a day surgery basis. They include Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty (SLT) and Laser Iridotomy. Both of these make small openings in or near the iris to improve the drainage of fluid.
- Surgery: A minute area of the eye wall is removed to allow the fluid to drain freely. Another option is a shunt procedure, where a tiny tube is placed within the eye for the fluid to drain from.
Laser treatments and/or surgery can be extremely successful where other, more conventional, treatments have failed to lower the eye pressure sufficiently. They can only be performed by a surgical ophthalmologist who specializes in such treatments.The key takeaway is how important it is to have regular eye checks throughout your life. Although conditions, such as glaucoma, are more common as you age, they can occur at any time. Early diagnosis, monitoring, and treatment are what will ensure that the condition doesn’t progress unnoticed to where it becomes a danger to your eyesight.If you’ve already been diagnosed, then partnering with a glaucoma specialist who’s well-placed to perform surgical interventions if or when needed would be a wise move.
Worried About Glaucoma or Worsening Glaucoma Symptoms? Contact the WBEC Today
The West Boca Eye Center is a world-leading facility based in South Florida. Headed by renowned ophthalmologist, Brent Bellotte MD., his expertise in glaucoma treatment is second to none, with advanced dropless therapy/surgery on offer, should more conventional treatments fail.Don’t worry a second longer. Head to https://westbocaeyecenter.com/services/glaucoma-dropless-therapy/ to discover more and call our friendly team to book a consultation.
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