Glaucoma is one of the most concerning eye conditions you can develop.
Often, glaucoma develops without showing any symptoms until it causes partial or total loss of vision. You can have glaucoma and have no idea until it takes your eyesight.
Keep reading to learn more about glaucoma and if it has any symptoms!
What is Glaucoma?
Glaucoma is a collection of eye diseases that raise the pressure in your eyes, causing damage to your optic nerve. When you have glaucoma, it can lead to increased intraocular pressure (IOP) that gets so high that it presses on your optic nerve and damages it.
Your optic nerve sends light signals from your retina to your brain. Your brain interprets those signals and creates images out of them.
If your optic nerve gets damaged, it may no longer be able to send these signals. If this occurs, it’s a sign of vision loss. Any damage to the optic nerve from glaucoma is irreversible and permanent.
What are the Symptoms of Glaucoma?
There are two primary types of glaucoma, primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG) and angle-closure glaucoma. POAG is the more common of the two, but both can cause vision loss.
POAG develops slowly over time, often without symptoms. Primary open-angle glaucoma is where the nickname the silent thief of sight comes from.
The damage takes so long to occur that your brain fills in any spots that may have become impaired because of glaucoma. Eventually, it will cause your IOP to get so high that it severely damages your optic nerve.
You may finally notice vision loss, but it will be too late to regain what you have lost.
Angle-closure glaucoma does not develop slowly. Instead, it comes on rapidly and can cause vision loss very quickly.
It occurs when you have a spike in IOP that immediately presses on the optic nerve. Angle-closure glaucoma produces symptoms like headaches, nausea, and tunnel vision.
You can save your eyesight if you have angle-closure glaucoma, but you must seek immediate medical care if you notice these symptoms. Timely treatment can prevent vision loss, but you risk losing your vision by waiting.
Can You Treat Glaucoma?
There is no way to prevent glaucoma. Once you have it, all you can do is manage it.
Common treatments for glaucoma include:
- Medical eyedrops to reduce IOP
- Other less invasive procedures are called minimally invasive glaucoma surgeries or MIGS
Glaucoma causes your IOP to rise by constricting or preventing fluid from draining out of your eye. When the fluid can’t leave, it builds up as more gets produced, leading to increased pressure inside your eye.
The goal of these treatments is to keep your IOP at a healthy level. Whether traditional procedures or MIGS, glaucoma surgeries prevent fluid production or help it flow out of your eye more naturally.
Eyedrops and other medications that regulate IOP are the most common treatments. But, they can be a hassle to take, and people may forget.
Surgery provides more permanent solutions and can lessen your reliance on medications. All glaucoma procedures help fluids in the eye flow out by creating new outflow channels or unblocking the pinches in the drainage network of the eyes.
Glaucoma may be scary, but you don’t have to be a victim of it. The only way to avoid losing your vision to the condition is by scheduling regular eye exams. Your eye doctor will check your IOP and the health of your optic nerve during an eye exam.
If they notice any issues, they will begin treatment immediately. The earlier you catch glaucoma, the easier it is to treat. Frequent eye exams are the only way to do this.
Is it time for you to have your eyes examined? Schedule an appointment at Rosenthal Eye Surgery and Fifth Avenue EyeCare in Great Neck, NY, to ensure your eyes are safe!