Glaucoma Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Glaucoma is an eye disease in which fluid builds up and causes pressure on the front part of the eye.  It is a relatively common disease in older adults, but if left untreated it can cause damage to the optic nerve or lead to loss of vision or even blindness.

Types Of Glaucoma

Primary Open-Angle Glaucoma – this type happens gradually, as eye pressure builds due to poor fluid drainage in the eye.  There may be little to no symptoms at first but as the disease progresses, blind spots can develop in your peripheral vision.  Regular eye exams can detect damage to the optic nerve before symptoms have begun to appear.

Angle-Closure Glaucoma – eye pressure rises very quickly due to the drainage angle being completely blocked.  This acute attack is a true emergency and you need to contact your eye doctor right away.  Some symptoms of this type of attack include sudden blurry vision, severe eye pain, headache, nausea, vomiting or the appearance of rainbow-colored rings around lights.

Glaucoma Treatment

Glaucoma damage is permanent and cannot be reversed.  But there are a number of options that can help prevent further damage from occurring.    Typically it is treated with medicated eye drops that lower eye pressure.  Other options include in-office laser surgery which can be effective in helping drain fluid from the eye, or surgery performed in an operating room which creates a new drainage channel for fluid to exit the eye.

Eye Exams Are Crucial For Diagnosis

The only sure way to diagnose glaucoma is with a complete eye exam.  Some forms of glaucoma can cause blindness if not treated quickly, but symptoms are often not apparent until the damage is severe and your vision has already been compromised.  This is why regular eye exams are so important, as they can detect signs of glaucoma that would otherwise go unnoticed.

At Family Vision Development Center, Dr. Martin will evaluate things like eye pressure, peripheral vision, optic nerve condition and the eye’s drainage angle to test for the presence of glaucoma and determine an appropriate treatment plan.  Call 630-862-2020 for more information or to schedule an appointment.

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