Glaucoma is a frightening condition that is very dangerous. It can threaten your sight if left unchecked and is notoriously hard to detect. It is actually also referred to as “the silent thief of sight” due to its lack of noticeable symptoms until loss of vision has already occurred. Any vision loss due to glaucoma is permanent. But what exactly is glaucoma? How does it work?
An Introduction to Glaucoma
Glaucoma is a complicated condition that has a few different distinguishing types. Vision loss from glaucoma is due to the optic nerve (that carries information from the retina to the brain) becoming damaged. How the damage occurs largely depends on the type of glaucoma that you have.
- Open-angle glaucoma is the most prevalent type of glaucoma. The term “open-angle” refers to a specific part of the eye that that functions as a drainage system. This mesh-like tissue allows fluid to drain properly as long as the angle is open. However, with glaucoma, the tissue does not drain fast enough, causing a buildup of eye pressure. The pressure eventually damages the optic nerve, resulting in acute loss of vision.
- Closed-angle glaucoma is similar, except it is much more dangerous. Rather than the fluid building up slowly due to an eye that improperly drains its fluid, part of the iris physically blocks the escape of fluid, causing a sharp spike in eye pressure. This form of glaucoma has very noticeable symptoms, in fact, it is very painful. If you feel any severe pain, nausea, and experience sharp loss of vision, seek medical treatment immediately or call 911.
- Normal-tension glaucoma is a strange outlier as it occurs in people with normal eye pressure. The optic nerve is still damaged somehow, resulting in loss of vision.
As with any disease or condition, early detection is the best possible way to deal with glaucoma. This means scheduling regular eye doctor appointments. Pinke Eye Center in Shelton, CT is home to a world-class eye doctor with an immense amount of experience with glaucoma. Dr. James Pinke can detect the condition before it damages your optic nerve and offers treatments to help.
Detection is done through a series of test, including the standard “eye chart” test, peripheral vision test, and dilated eye exam. It also includes a measurement of eye pressure using something called a tonometer.
While there is no cure for glaucoma as of today, there are a few treatments available to halt its progress. Certain eye drops and pills reduce help reduce eye pressure. These medicines must be taken as frequently as recommended. Dr. Pinke also offers a variety of surgical options including the standard laser trabeculectomy. This manually drains some of the pressure from the eye.
Again, these treatments will not restore any lost vision, which is why it is so important to schedule frequent eye doctor visits, at least once a year. Request your appointment with Pinke Eye Center today!