Glaucoma is a disease that damages your eye’s optic nerve. It usually happens when fluid (aqueous humor) accumulates in your eye. That excess fluid increases the pressure within your eye, damaging the optic nerve. Glaucoma can occur at any age, but is more common in older adults. It is one of the main causes of blindness for people over sixty years of age.
We will cover the most frequently asked questions by our patients about Glaucoma below.
What are the symptoms of Glaucoma?
Glaucoma is known as the "silent thief of vision" and usually does not produce any symptoms.
Peripheral vision is affected with relative sparing of central vision at early stages of disease, and when the disease gets to advanced stages, tunnel vision occurs.
Glaucoma patients may find that they can't see, but most patients don't notice any symptoms until it's too late.
Glaucoma can be associated with redness, eye pain, headaches, blurred vision, and haloes around lights. Other symptoms may be associated with glaucoma, such as blurry vision and the need for bright light for reading.
Who should be checked for glaucoma?
In general, everyone should have an eye exam, which should include an IOP measurement and an optic nerve head examination. It is best to do the examination every 2-3 years and it is recommended to be examined every 1-2 years after the age of 60. The frequency of eye examinations may vary, please discuss this with your eye doctor.
Who is at greater risk for glaucoma?
•High internal eye pressure
•Extreme nearsightedness or farsightedness
•Family history of glaucoma
•African, Asian or Hispanic heritage
•Certain medical conditions, such as diabetes, migraines, high blood pressure and sickle cell anemia
•Taking corticosteroid medicines, especially eye drops, for a long time
•Some people have narrow drainage angles, putting them at increased risk of angle-closure glaucoma.
It is only with a complete eye exam that glaucoma can be diagnosed. A glaucoma screening that only looks at a patient's eye pressure is not enough to determine if someone has the disease.
During a glaucoma exam, your ophthalmologist will:
•Measure your eye pressure
•Inspect your eye's drainage angle
•Examine your optic nerve for damage
•Test your peripheral (side) vision (Visual Field)
•Take a picture or computer measurement of your optic nerve (OCT)
•Measure the thickness of your cornea
What is the most effective treatment for glaucoma?
•After examining the eyes, precisely the optic nerve and the pressure of the patient’s eyes, the doctor will decide the best treatment plan for the situation, the majority of patients are treated with eye drops to lower the pressure. However, some case may need special kind of laser to decrease the eye pressure.
•In advanced cases where the eye drops and lasers are not doing the needed job to decrease the eye pressure, surgical intervention will be the choice.
Sharif Eye Centers offers comprehensive multi-subspecialty eye care a team of ophthalmologists and optometrists and a specialized Glaucoma Unit.