Most eye diseases give you some warning that your vision is being affected. Glaucoma is a disease that can cause blindness with little warning. Early detection and treatment can prevent this disease from stealing your vision. Here is what you need to know about this silent eye disease and how to keep your eyesight.
High Pressure in the Eye Causes the Problems
Your eyeball is filled with a gel-like fluid, called vitreous humor. The fluid maintains the shape of the eye. As new fluid is produced, old fluid is expelled from the eye through tiny openings in the side of the eye.
Glaucoma disrupts the process by increasing fluid production and restricting the drainage of fluid from the eye. This causes the pressure to build up in the eyeball. The pressure damages sensitive tissues in the eye. When the pressure becomes severe, the optic nerve can be damaged, causing partial or total blindness.
Few Symptoms Make This a Dangerous Eye Disease
The progression of glaucoma can occur with few symptoms. Even when symptoms appear, they can be ignored or thought to be caused by other problems. If you do you have symptoms, you might experience:
- a ring of light, called a halo, around bright objects
- a red tinge to the white part of the eye
- aching and throbbing in the eye
- blurry peripheral vision
Regular glaucoma checkups by your eye doctor are the way to stay ahead of this eye disease. During the exam, your doctor will look for:
- pressure increases in the eye
- signs of damage to the optic nerve
- loss of peripheral vision
Glaucoma can't be cured, but once detected, treatment can be done (with the help of professionals such as those from Leader Heights Eye Center) to reduce the pressure in your eye and prevent damage to the optic nerve. Common glaucoma treatments include:
- Eye drops - In the early stages of glaucoma, eye drops can be used to reduce the production of fluid in the eye. The drops can also open the pores in the eye to allow more fluid to escape. Once started, you'll continue to use these drops for the rest of your life to control the glaucoma.
- Injections - With more advanced cases of glaucoma, an injection is done directly into the eye to reduce the fluid production. This is also a treatment that you'll receive on a regular basis.
- Surgery - When the pressure in your eye has reached a critical point where the optic nerve can be damaged, eye surgeons will make tiny openings in the eye to drain off fluid. Once this is done. you'll start on a medication to keep the pressure in the eye at normal levels.