Carolina Vision Associates, O.D., P.A. Our eye doctor in Wilmington, North Carolina explains
Summery: Glaucoma is an eye disease that involves an abnormal increase in your intraocular pressure (the fluid inside your eye). As the pressure rises, it damages your optic nerve. Because the optic nerve is responsible for transmitting images to your brain, this damage affects vision. When glaucoma is left untreated, the damage continues – leading to vision loss and blindness.
What causes this sight-threatening condition?
Normally, your intraocular fluid (aqueous humor) flows out of the eye through a special channel – called the trabecular meshwork. When this channel gets blocked, the fluid can’t drain properly and pressure builds.
Most of the time, glaucoma is inherited and occurs in older adults, above age 60. Less commonly, glaucoma can be caused by severe eye infections, a chemical or blunt injury to your eye, inflammatory conditions, or a blockage of the blood vessels in your eye. Usually, both eyes are affected, but they may not be in exactly the same condition.
Many eye diseases can be quickly and easily diagnosed during a Comprehensive eye exam, Pediatric eye exam and Contact lens eye exam. If you were diagnosed with an eye disease, such as Cataracts, Glaucoma, Macular degeneration, Diabetic retinopathy, or Dry eye, you may be overwhelmed by the diagnosis and confused about what happens next. Will you need medications or surgery – now or in the future? Is LASIK eye and vision surgery an option for you ? Our Wilmington eye doctor is always ready to answer your questions about eye disease and Contact lenses.
Glaucoma doesn’t usually present early symptoms or pain. So the only way to know if you have it at an early stage is by visiting your Wilmington eye clinic for a comprehensive eye exam. Eye doctors recommend getting a complete eye exam yearly if you are older than 40 or if you have a history of glaucoma (or any eye disease, for that matter) in your family. If the signs of glaucoma are detected, you can begin glaucoma treatment in Wilmington – as soon as possible, which is the best way to protect your eyes and prevent vision loss!
Are there different types of glaucoma?
There are two types of glaucoma:Open-angle glaucoma (also called wide-angle glaucoma), is the most common form of this eye disease. Even though the drainage structure in your eye looks good, the intraocular fluid doesn’t flow out efficiently.
Angle-closure glaucoma (also called acute or narrow-angle glaucoma), occurs when the drain space between the iris and cornea becomes too narrow to facilitate proper drainage. Consequently, pressure rises suddenly in the eye.
Who gets glaucoma?
Risk factors for glaucoma include:
- Over age 40
- A family history of glaucoma
- Asian, African, or Hispanic heritage
- High eye pressure
- Farsightedness or nearsightedness
- Having had an eye injury
- Using long-term steroid medications
- Corneas that are thin in the center
- Thinning of the optic nerve
- High blood pressure
- Poor blood circulation
What are the symptoms of glaucoma?
The earliest symptoms of glaucoma can include a loss of peripheral vision, but usually people don’t notice any symptoms at all until late in the disease. That’s why glaucoma has been nicknamed the "sneak thief of sight." If you want to make sure you don’t have glaucoma, book an eye exam at our Wilmington eye clinic.
Occasionally, pressure can build up in your eye to an extreme level, leading to headaches, blurred vision, eye pain, or seeing halos around lights. If you experience the following glaucoma symptoms, seek immediate medical assistance:
- An eye that appears hazy
- Eye pain
- Vision loss
- Seeing halos around lights
- Redness in the eye
- Narrowed vision (tunnel vision)
- Nausea or vomiting, accompanied by the listed eye symptoms
What glaucoma treatment is provided in Wilmington?
Glaucoma treatment by our Wilmington eye doctor may involve eye drops that reduce fluid pressure, laser surgery, or microsurgery. The goal of all of these treatments is to lower intraocular pressure in the eye. Laser surgeries accomplish this in several different ways – either by making a tiny hole in the iris to let the fluid flow more smoothly, treating areas of the eye to reduce fluid production, or opening the drainage area. Microsurgery creates a new channel for drainage.
Is there a way to prevent glaucoma?
Presently, there are no proven methods to prevent glaucoma. But if the disease is diagnosed early, we offer progressive glaucoma treatment in Wilmington, to protect your sight. Once vision is lost, it cannot be restored – but regular eye exams in our Wilmington eye clinic can detect the early signs of glaucoma, preventing damage to your vision before it’s too late!
Carolina Vision Associates, O.D., P.A., your Wilmington eye doctor for eye exams and eye care
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