Everything You Need to Know About Glaucoma from a Plano, TX Optometrist
If a family member has glaucoma or you are worried you have it, you might be wondering how it will affect your vision or about how it will affect your life in general. At Lone Star Vision Eye Care & Optical, we provide you with routine screenings for the condition, so we can detect and start caring for it early to prevent complications.
What is Glaucoma?
Glaucoma describes conditions that damage the optic nerve, which sends messages from the retina in your eye to your brain. Usually, the condition stems from a high amount of pressure in your eye. Although it may occur at any age, it develops more often in older adults.
Symptoms of Glaucoma
Typically, you won’t have any warning signs of glaucoma. You might start having gradual vision loss that you aren’t aware of. You might not notice the changes in your vision until the condition has advanced. If you have open-angle glaucoma, you might experience patchy blind spots that affect your side or central vision. In many cases, it occurs in both eyes. Tunnel vision develops as glaucoma progresses into the advanced stages. Acute angle-closure glaucoma may cause severe headaches, nausea, vomiting and eye pain. Blurred vision, eye redness and halos around lights is possible.
Vision loss from glaucoma is permanent. Currently, there isn’t a method used to reverse the vision loss. Regular screening, however, allows us to intervene and slow or prevent vision loss when we detect it early. For this reason, our optometrist advises patients to be screened for glaucoma regularly. How often you should receive a glaucoma screening depends on your age and any risk factors you may have for it. According to the Mayo Clinic, within 20 years of having the condition, approximately 15 percent of individuals with glaucoma become blind in at least eye, despite treatment.
Our optometry clinic screens patients for glaucoma by checking the pressure in your eye. First, we put eye drops into your eye to dilate the pupil. This allows us to examine your optic nerve. We may use diagnostic testing equipment such as an OCT, GDx or HRT in order to evaluate the extent of the damage to your optic nerve. We might perform a Visual Field Test to detect severe damage.
Treatment of Glaucoma
There isn’t a cure for glaucoma. We do use treatments to slow or prevent vision loss, which consists of reducing pressure in the optic nerve. Usually, we begin the process with prescription eye drops, which either improve fluid drainage or decrease the amount of fluid the eyes produce. For instance, we may prescribe prostaglandins, beta blockers, alpha-adrenergic agonists, miotic agents, cholinergic agents or carbonic anhydrase inhibitors. We may prescribe oral medications if eye drops aren’t effective enough. For instance, a carbonic anhydrase inhibitor may reduce the amount of fluid in the eye. If other treatments aren’t effective, laser therapy or other surgical procedures might be needed.