Glaucoma FAQs From Your Lone Star Vision Optometrist
Glaucoma affects millions of men and women in the U.S., and because the disease causes very few symptoms in its early stages, many people won’t realize they have the disease until it causes permanent vision loss. Seeing an optometrist is the best way to ensure glaucoma is “caught” in its earliest stages so treatment can begin as soon as possible. As a leading optometry practice in Plano and Celina, Texas, Lone Star Vision is committed to providing comprehensive eye care, including eye exams and evaluations designed to identify the early signs of glaucoma so vision loss can be prevented.
What causes glaucoma?
Glaucoma is a disease that causes damage to the optic nerve, which is responsible for carrying nerve signals from the light-sensitive retina to the brain where the signals are “translated” into the images we see. In most cases, the nerve is damaged by mounting pressure inside the eye (called intraocular pressure or IOP). As the pressure increases, the nerve fibers become compressed and, ultimately, destroyed. IOP can be measured during a routine eye exam using a special instrument that puffs a small stream of air onto the eye surface or an instrument that rests on the eye surface after the eye has been temporarily numbed. Some people can develop glaucoma even when their intraocular pressure is normal. This is called normal-tension glaucoma, and the only way to accurately diagnose this form of the disease is with a dilated eye exam to look for changes associated with the normal-tension form.
What symptoms does glaucoma cause?
In its very early stages, glaucoma often causes no noticeable symptoms, which is why it’s sometimes referred to as the “silent thief of sight.” As the disease progresses, you might notice symptoms like blurred or dimmed vision, halos around lights, tunnel vision, and headache or eye pain. You’re more likely to develop glaucoma if you have a family history of the disease and if you have diabetes or cardiovascular disease.
How does an optometrist treat glaucoma?
At Lone Star Vision, your optometrist will begin with a comprehensive eye exam to evaluate your vision and any symptoms you may be experiencing. Special eye drops will be administered to gently and painlessly widen the pupil so the optometrist can evaluate the inner portions of your eye including the optic nerve. During the exam, the eye doctor will be looking for subtle signs that are associated with glaucoma in its early stages. Once the evaluation is complete, the eye doctor will measure your IOP to determine if your pressure is elevated. The entire exam is completely painless, and it’s vital for ensuring your eyes stay as healthy as possible.
Schedule an eye exam and glaucoma evaluation today
Glaucoma is a major cause of blindness in the U.S., especially among people over 50 years of age. Having eye exams annually (or more frequently if you have risk factors for the disease) is critical for diagnosing the disease early and preventing permanent vision loss. As a leading optometry practice in Plano and Celina, Lone Star Vision can help you enjoy better vision at every age.