The term "glaucoma" is rightfully dreaded since this progressive disease of the optic nerves is a leading cause of blindness throughout the world. But many people do not quite understand what glaucoma is all about, or what they can do to protect themselves against it. Here are some answers to frequently asked questions about glaucoma from our ophthalmology center at Texas Eye Surgeons in Plano, TX.
Glaucoma is a blanket term applied to numerous conditions that damage the optic nerves, resulting in progressive and irreversible loss of vision. It is the second most common cause of blindness.
Glaucoma can occur for a variety of reasons, including no discernable reason at all. Most commonly, however, it is the result of high fluid pressure inside the eye. When the eye cannot efficiently drain the fluid constantly produced within it, pressure may rise until the optic nerve sustains damage.
While anybody can get glaucoma (including infants born with the condition), the risk varies according to age, ethnicity, and underlying health factors. African-Americans and Hispanic-Americans have an elevate glaucoma risk, along with individuals aged 40 or over and individuals suffering from hypertension, diabetes, refractive errors, thin corneas, eye injuries, or a family history of the disorder.
The most common kind of glaucoma is called open-angle glaucoma. In this condition, the eye drains its fluid too slowly to control internal pressure levels, causing gradual vision damage. Less common is angle-closure glaucoma, in which the drainage suddenly suffers total failure. This medical emergency needs to be treated immediately.
Open-angle glaucoma may do extensive damage to your optic nerves before you notice any symptoms. Vision loss usually starts with a reduction in peripheral vision. Angle-closure glaucoma causes, not just sudden and severe vision loss, but also headaches, eye pain, and nausea.
Our Plano ophthalmology center can detect glaucoma during a routine optometry exam by using tonometry techniques to measure your internal eye pressure. We can also view your optic nerves directly to look for signs of damage.
Oral and topical medications usually do a good job of controlling your eyes' fluid pressure. If necessary, we can also perform painless outpatient techniques using lasers to modify your eyes' drainage system.
The best way to get all the answers to your glaucoma questions is by calling (972) 379-3937. Schedule a consultation today!