Glaucoma is a serious condition of the eye. It is characterized by an increase in eye pressure that causes permanent damage to the optic nerve. There is no cure for glaucoma; however, the professionals at Harrington Vision can create a treatment plan to help slow the progression of the disease.
Q: What Are the Two Types of Glaucoma?
A: There are two types of glaucoma. The first is open-angle glaucoma, which is the most common type. It occurs when the trabecular meshwork, which is the eye's drainage system, becomes partially clogged, causing the fluid in the eye to drain slowly, similar to a slow kitchen drain.
The second type is angle-closure glaucoma. This form occurs when the eyes drainage system becomes completely clogged, so the fluid cannot drain at all, causing a rapid spike in eye pressure.
Q: Who Is At Risk For Glaucoma?
A: Anyone can develop glaucoma; however, there are factors that can increase your risk. These include:
- Having a family history of glaucoma
- Certain medical conditions such as heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes or sickle cell anemia
- Being extremely farsighted or nearsighted
- Previous eye injury or eye surgery
- Long-term use of corticosteroid medication
Q: What Are the Symptoms of Glaucoma?
In the early stages, open-angle glaucoma shows no symptoms. It isn't until permanent vision loss has occurred that you start showing symptoms.
Angle-closure glaucoma causes sudden and severe symptoms. These include:
- Severe headache
- Severe eye pain
- Seeing halos around lights
- Redness of the eyes
Q: How Is Glaucoma Diagnosed?
A: This condition can be diagnosed during your annual eye exam. During the exam, your optometrist will check your eye pressure. If it is high, your doctor will perform further tests.
- Pachymetry to measure corneal thickness
- Gonioscopy to inspect the drainage angle
- Visual field test to check for areas of vision loss
Q: How Is Glaucoma Treated?
A: In the early stages, your optometrist may just want to monitor your condition. They might also prescribe new eyeglasses. If the pressure in your eye increases too much, they can prescribe eye drops to reduce the pressure. In the later stages, there are a few treatment options available.
- Laser trabeculoplasty: This is a laser procedure where your eye doctor will open the clogged channels in the eye's drainage system.
- Trabeculectomy: This is a surgical procedure where your doctor would create a small opening in the white of the eye to remove parts of the eye's drainage system.
- Drainage tubes: Your doctor can insert a small shunt in your eye that will drain the excess fluid to reduce your eye pressure.
Call Harrington Vision Today
Because open-angle glaucoma shows no early symptoms, annual visits to Harrington Vision. To schedule an appointment, give us a call today.