Glaucoma is a leading cause of blindness and visual impairment in the US, and can affect patients of all ages, many of who do not experience any symptoms and may not be aware that they have the disease. Glaucoma actually refers to a group of diseases that cause damage to the optic nerve, often as a result of increased pressure within the eye, but can also be caused by a severe eye infection, injury, blocked blood vessels or inflammatory conditions of the eye.
There are two main types of glaucoma, open-angle and angle-closure. Open-angle glaucoma is the most common type of glaucoma and involves fluid in the eye not draining properly through the trabecular meshwork. Angle-closure glaucoma involves a sudden buildup of pressure in the eye and poor drainage because the angle between the iris and the cornea is too narrow.
Most patients are completely asymptomatic during the early stages of open-angle glaucoma. This makes it difficult for patients to know if they have the disease. But as glaucoma progresses, patients may experience a loss of peripheral or side vision. With angle-closure glaucoma, patients may experience sudden eye pain, headache, blurred vision or the appearance of halos around lights.
Once glaucoma has been diagnosed, treatment should begin as soon as possible to help minimize the risk of permanent vision loss. There is no cure for glaucoma, so treatment focuses on relieving symptoms and preventing further damage from occurring. Most cases of glaucoma can be treated with eye drops, laser or microsurgery. The best treatment for your individual case depends on the type and severity of the disease, and can be discussed with your doctor.
Our Ophthalmologists have considerable experience and expertise in the diagnosis and management of glaucoma with the goal of maintaining your vision. If you have questions, or would like to understand more about Glaucoma and treatment options, reach out to our office. We are happy to speak with you.