January is dedicated to increasing awareness of glaucoma and for good reason. Glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness worldwide and affects over 3 million people in the United States alone. That’s why early detection and treatment are critical to preventing permanent damage. Read on to learn about glaucoma, including types, its symptoms, and options for treatment.
What is glaucoma?
Glaucoma is a group of diseases that damage the eye’s optic nerve, which relays visual information from your eye to your brain. When the optic nerve is damaged, it causes blind spots or vision loss. This damage usually happens when there’s too much pressure inside the eye, also known as intraocular pressure (IOP). High IOP can be caused by a variety of factors, such as genetics or age-related issues.
Types of glaucoma
There are two main types of glaucoma—open-angle glaucoma and angle-closure glaucoma. Open-angle glaucoma, the most common form, typically develops slowly with no obvious symptoms until significant damage has been done to the optic nerve. Angle-closure glaucoma is less common and occurs when the drainage canals become suddenly blocked, causing pressure in the eyes to rise quickly. This type of glaucoma requires immediate medical attention because it can cause permanent vision loss if left untreated.
Symptoms of glaucoma
Common symptoms associated with glaucoma include blurry vision, tunnel vision, halos around lights, headaches, nausea/vomiting, and eye pain/redness. However, there are often no early signs of glaucoma, which is why regular eye exams are critical to catching this eye disease early. In fact, most glaucoma patients won’t notice any symptoms until they begin to lose their eyesight.
If you’re experiencing any of the above symptoms or have any concerns about your eyesight, contact your eye doctor immediately. An annual eye exam performed by an optometrist is the best way to ensure early detection of this disease before vision loss occurs.
Treatment options for glaucoma
Glaucoma treatment will depend on the type and severity of your condition, but the most common treatment is prescription eye drops. They help lower the pressure in your eye and prevent damage to your optic nerve. Other treatment options include oral medications, laser treatment, surgery, or a combination of these treatments.
With early detection and proper management techniques, you can keep your eyes healthy and safe from sight-stealing diseases like glaucoma. If you’re overdue for an appointment or noticing any vision changes, make sure to call our office today to schedule your eye exam!