What is Glaucoma?

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What is Glaucoma?

When you go to the eye doctor for an eye exam, you are tested for glaucoma. Glaucoma occurs when there is a buildup of internal eye pressure, which can ultimately cause damage to the optic nerve. The optic nerve is what transmits visual images to the brain, and damage to this nerve can lead to blindness.

The first part of your vision affected by Glaucoma is your peripheral vision. This is why glaucoma is difficult to detect. A person could potentially lose a large portion of their vision before ever noticing there is a problem.

The second leading cause of blindness in the United States is glaucoma, and 2.5 million people are affected by this disease. By 2020 the expected population of American citizens living with the disease should be more than 3 million people.

Glaucoma Symptoms. 

Glaucoma can easily sneak up on people, because it causes no pain, and there are not any symptoms. . Because of this, the disease goes undetected and can significantly progress on the optic nerve before there is a chance to reverse the damage.

There are various forms of the disease. For example: acute angle-closure glaucoma creates symptoms of blurry vision, halos around lights, intense eye pain, nausea, and random vomiting. If you are experiencing these symptoms, be sure to schedule an appointment with your eye doctor as soon as possible.

Causes of Glaucoma

Glaucoma occurs when the eye fails to maintain balance between the amount of fluid in the eye, and the amount that drains out of the eye. Just as a balloon needs air to maintain its shape, eyes need fluid to maintain their round shape. This fluid allows the eye to maintain normal eye pressure, but when a person has glaucoma, the eye pressure destabilizes. When dangerously high eye pressure occurs, vision can be lost.

Open-angle and narrow-angle glaucoma.

There are two major types of glaucoma: Open-angle glaucoma and closed–angle glaucoma. The angle being referred to is the internal structures inside the eye that drains the eye fluid. The angle is located near the junction between the front surface of the eye and the iris.

How to detect glaucoma

The best way to detect glaucoma is to schedule a yearly eye exam. During your eye exam the doctor uses a tonometer to measure your eye pressure by numbing your eyes and placing a small probe gently against your eye surface. Doctors may also use a tonometer that uses a puff of air to measure your eye’s pressure. Abnormally high air pressures indicates that there may be a problem with your eye’s fluid draining systems or that your eye is producing too much fluid.

Glaucoma Treatment

The treatment for glaucoma depends on how far the disease has progressed. Glaucoma can be treated with prescriptions, surgery, laser surgery, or a combination of the three treatments. People may not take these treatments seriously, because glaucoma is generally a painless eye disease. One of the major reasons glaucoma leads to blindness, is because people become slack on taking their medication. Whatever your treatment is, remember that the process is vital for your vision.

The best way to prevent vision loss is to attend routine eye exams. The earlier your eye doctor detects glaucoma, the better for the sake of your vision.

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