Damage to the optic nerve is one of the characteristics of this eye condition. Glaucoma is linked to pressure buildup in the eye, and it often gets worse over time. Glaucoma can be hereditary, usually running in families. In most cases, the condition develops later in life.
If the damage to the optic nerve worsens, it can lead to permanent vision loss within a short period. In most cases, people who have glaucoma do not exhibit early symptoms. It is necessary to understand glaucoma diagnosis and treatment.
The eye contains a fluid called aqueous humor that flows from the eye through a channel resembling meshwork. Following channel blockage or excess production of fluid in the eye, fluid can build up.
The cause of the blockage is unclear, but it is possible to inherit the condition. Other causes of glaucoma include:
Glaucoma usually affects individuals over the age of 40, but in some cases, it can affect younger adults and even children. African Americans are more likely to get the condition, and it often occurs when they are younger.
Other risk factors are a history of the disease in the family, being nearsighted or farsighted, and having poor vision. Other factors include having diabetes, using steroid medications, taking certain drugs, an eye injury, and having unusually thin corneas. Having high eye pressure, high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, or sickle cell anemia are risk factors.
Glaucoma has two main types:
Open-angle glaucoma, or wide-angle glaucoma, is very common. The condition occurs when the eye’s drainage structure fails to function effectively, meaning that the fluid does not flow out well.
Angle-closure glaucoma or acute or chronic angle-closure. It is most common among Asians. The eye fails to drain as it should due to the narrow drain between the iris and the cornea. This causes a sudden buildup of eye pressure.
A doctor can diagnose glaucoma after several short tests. The tests are painless, and they include testing the vision and dilating the pupils to examine the eyes. The eye doctor will check the optic nerve to look for signs of damage. The doctor may take photos of the eyes to monitor changes.
A tonometry test checks the eye pressure, and a visual field test checks the peripheral vision. The doctor may also perform special imaging tests of the optic nerve during diagnosis.
Doctors treat glaucoma in different ways depending on the type of glaucoma and the stage of the disease. Treatment options include eye drops, oral medication, laser surgery, and microsurgery. You may treat glaucoma using a combination of the different treatments.
Vision loss through glaucoma is irreversible. However, lowering the pressure can help maintain the remaining eyesight. The condition can be worse in one eye, but it usually affects both eyes. Following the prescribed treatment plan and getting regular eye exams can help protect your vision.
For more on glaucoma diagnosis and treatment, consult Optique Vision at our office in Albany, New York. You can call (518) 302-2106 today to schedule an appointment.