Glaucoma is an eye condition that occurs when the pressure in the optic nerve is abnormally high and causes permanent damage to the optic nerve. Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of blindness in people over 60, and unfortunately, there is no cure. However, the professionals at Master Eye Associates can create a treatment plan that can slow the progression of the disease, preserving your vision longer.
Types of Glaucoma
There are two types of glaucoma, and open-angle glaucoma is the most common. This form occurs when the fluid cannot drain through the tissue called the trabecular meshwork, similar to a slow drain, causing the pressure in your eyes to increase. The second type is called angle-closure glaucoma and is less common than open-angle. This form occurs when the fluid cannot drain at all, causing a rapid spike in eye pressure.
Risk Factors for Glaucoma
Anyone can develop glaucoma. However, certain factors can increase the risk of developing the condition, including:
- You are over 60
- You are Asian, Hispanic, or African-American
- You have a family history of glaucoma
- You have a medical condition, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, or sickle cell anemia.
- You have an extremely high eyeglass prescription.
- You have thin corneas.
- You had a previous eye injury or surgery.
- You've been taking corticosteroid medication for a while, particularly eye drops.
Symptoms of Glaucoma
Open-angle glaucoma shows no symptoms in the early stages. That's why annual eye exams are so essential for an early diagnosis. As the condition progresses, you will develop patchy blind spots in your peripheral vision, and in the advanced stages, you can develop tunnel vision. The symptoms of angle-closure come on quickly and are often severe due to the rapid spike in eye pressure. The symptoms include:
- Severe eye pain
- Severe headaches
- Seeing halos around lights
- Blurry vision
- Eye redness
- Nausea and vomiting
Glaucoma can be detected during your annual eye exam. Our eye doctor will check the pressure in your eye, and if it's elevated, we will perform further tests to confirm the diagnosis, including:
- Visual field test to check for areas of vision loss
- Pachymetry to measure the corneal thickness
- Gonioscopy to inspect the drainage angle
There are treatment options available to help slow the progression of glaucoma. They include:
- Eye drops: Our eye doctor can prescribe eye drops to keep your eye pressure down in the early stages.
- Laser trabeculoplasty: This laser procedure involves using a laser beam to open the clogged channels.
- Filtering surgery: This is a surgical procedure that involves your eye doctor putting a tiny incision in the white of your eye to remove parts of the meshwork that prevents the fluid from draining.
Visit Our Optometry Team for Quality Eye Care in Houston, TX
Because glaucoma causes permanent vision loss, it's best to schedule annual eye exams with Master Eye Associates for early diagnosis and management. Our optometrist can create a treatment plan based on the severity of the condition to preserve your vision longer. To schedule a vision exam, give us a call today.