Glaucoma is a group of eye conditions that damages the optic nerve progressively, leading to vision loss. It is among the leading causes of permanent vision loss globally. It develops due to elevated pressure in the eye, also called intraocular pressure (IOP). This eventually damages the optic nerve, which transmits visual information from the eye to the brain.
It is also known as a silent sight thief because its symptoms are often unnoticeable during the early development stages. This makes early detection vital to enable prompt treatment and prevent vision loss.
The first step in diagnosing glaucoma is through a comprehensive eye exam. Your eye specialist will measure intraocular pressure and check if your optic nerve is healthy. They may also assess your peripheral vision by doing visual field testing.
A tonometry test can measure intraocular pressure. High intraocular pressure can increase your risk for the condition. Your eye doctor can also conduct an optic nerve head evaluation
using special equipment like a slit lamp.
The optic disc, also called the optic nerve head, is where the retina's nerve fibers converge and exit your eye. An optic nerve head that has signs of damage or swelling may mean you have the condition.
Myopia treatment cannot cure the condition or restore lost vision. However, it helps slow its progression to help manage it and preserve vision.
Oral medications or eye drops are the most common form of medication. They help reduce the fluid the eye produces or increase its flow in your eye.
Selective laser trabeculoplasty (SLT) is a laser therapy that increases fluid outflow from your eye. It is a noninvasive procedure that is quick and painless. It often happens on an outpatient basis.
Traditional surgical procedures may be necessary in cases of more advanced glaucoma. Surgery prevents further vision loss by lowering eye pressure.
Several surgical options can help. Trabeculectomy can drain fluid from your eye by creating another draining channel. Your surgeon can also place tiny devices called drainage implants in your eye to drain excess fluid.
Prevention is always better than cure. Various ways can help you prevent glaucoma. One of them is through attending regular exams. Your eye specialist can detect glaucoma during its early stages through a comprehensive eye examination. Doing so can help start prompt treatment to protect your vision from further loss.
You can lower your risk for glaucoma by maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Eat a balanced diet rich in vegetables and fruit, and exercise regularly. Managing underlying health conditions such as diabetes or high blood pressure helps lower glaucoma risk.
Eye injury can increase intraocular pressure and cause glaucoma. Hence, it is vital to protect your eyes during high-impact activities or sports. You can avoid engaging in activities that endanger your eye health.
People with a family history of glaucoma have a high risk of developing the condition. Thus, it is vital to be vigilant and monitor your eye health if someone in your family gets a glaucoma diagnosis. You can do so by going for regular eye examinations for early detection of glaucoma signs.
For more about glaucoma, visit Reeve Woods Eye Center at our office in Chico, California. Call (530)317-EYES to book an appointment today.