Glaucoma is an eye condition that can rob you of your vision. It is the result of high pressure within your eye. More than 4 million people in the United States have glaucoma, according to the Glaucoma Research Foundation, but only about half of them know it. Glaucoma is the leading cause of blindness. The condition is incurable and lost vision cannot be restored, but medical treatment can halt further loss of vision, so it’s critical to catch it early to help prevent further damage.
A clear liquid, known as aqueous humor, circulates in the front part of the eye. The eye produces aqueous humor and drains the fluid through a complex network of cells and tissue known as the drainage angle. To maintain constant pressure, the eye produces the same amount of aqueous humor as is draining out the drainage angle. In glaucoma, the fluid does not flow through the drainage angle well.
Causes of Glaucoma
There are two types of glaucoma, categorized according to their cause. In open-angle glaucoma, the cells and tissue inside the drainage angle do a poor job of draining excess fluid, and this causes pressure inside the eye to rise. Over time, high intraocular pressure (IOP) damages delicate nerve fibers associated with vision.
In narrow-angle glaucoma, also known as an angle-closure glaucoma attack, the drainage angle becomes completely blocked. This type of glaucoma is a medical emergency, and causes symptoms such as severe eye and eyebrow pain, nausea and vomiting.
The risk for glaucoma includes a close family history of glaucoma or vision loss, being over the age of 60, and injury to the eye.
Glaucoma Prevention and Treatment
There is no sure way to prevent glaucoma but you can reduce the risk for vision loss associated with glaucoma by having regular screenings with your eye care professional. Because glaucoma may be a result of an eye injury, wear protective eyewear when engaging in sports or home improvement projects. Comprehensive eye exams are the best way to prevent glaucoma and other eye diseases.
Treatment for glaucoma depends largely on the type of glaucoma and its cause. Your health and wellness also help determine which treatment is right for you. Most patients benefit from eye drops but some require laser treatments or surgery to preserve vision. Only your eye doctor can help you decide which treatment is right for you.
If you have glaucoma, or if you have questions about glaucoma, make an appointment with Florida Eye Specialists. Our experienced eye doctors has the training and technologies to diagnose and treat glaucoma. We have six locations across Jacksonville to serve you. Make your appointment today by calling 904-564-2020 or by clicking here.