Glaucoma Symptoms and Causes

An elderly man holds his glasses and rubs his eyes while trying to read something

Glaucoma, widely known as the “sneak thief of sight,” is a group of eye diseases that can gradually and unknowingly steal your vision. Millions of Americans have glaucoma, yet many are unaware they have the disease since the symptoms are often unnoticeable at first. Protect your eyes from vision loss through routine eye exams and by learning more about glaucoma symptoms and causes.

What causes glaucoma?

Glaucoma is ultimately caused by an increase in pressure around the optic nerve due to a backup of fluid in the eye. As time progresses, the pressure causes damage to the optic nerve, leading to vision problems.  

There are several types of glaucoma to be aware of. Primary open-angle glaucoma is the most common form, accounting for about 90 percent of all glaucoma cases. It develops slowly and often goes unnoticed, which is why routine screenings are vital to detect and treat it early. Angle-closure glaucoma is much less common but also caused by rising pressure in the eye. It is typically caused by blocked drainage canals, and it develops very quickly and has noticeable symptoms. Normal-tension glaucoma, on the other hand, occurs when there is damage to the optic nerve. 

When left untreated, glaucoma causes irreversible damage to your vision and can lead to vision loss and permanent blindness. Early detection and treatment is crucial to help prevent serious damage to the eye. 

Who is at risk for glaucoma?

In addition to those with preexisting eye diseases, there are other factors attributed to an increased risk for developing glaucoma. Risk factors include: 

  • Adults over the age of 60
  • Those who have sustained an eye injury
  • Those with family members who have suffered vision loss
  • Those who use steroids 
  • Those with hypertension 
  • Those who are nearsighted 

While these factors are not definitive, studies show that they put individuals at a greater risk for glaucoma. Studies also suggest that nearly half of Americans who have glaucoma are undiagnosed. Protect your visual health by learning how glaucoma is diagnosed below.

How is glaucoma diagnosed?

Glaucoma can be very difficult to spot early on. The level of pressure within the eye alone is not enough to determine that a patient has glaucoma. The best way to stay ahead of glaucoma is to schedule regular eye examinations. 

In order to diagnose glaucoma, an ophthalmologist will focus on detecting the presence of ocular tissue damage related to intraocular pressure. They will use visual field testing, an analysis of the optic nerve, fundus photography, optical coherence tomography, and careful examination. 

Florida Eye Specialists offers the latest technology available for glaucoma diagnosis and monitoring. Treatments for glaucoma vary by individual, but through early detection, diagnosis, and effective treatment, you can preserve your vision. Request an appointment today with our glaucoma specialists in Jacksonville, FL to learn more about glaucoma symptoms and causes.

About Florida Eye Specialists

Florida Eye Specialists is one of the largest multi-specialty ophthalmology private practices in Northeast Florida, with offices in Fernandina Beach, Gate Parkway/295, Mandarin, Northside, Ponte Vedra Beach, Riverside, San Marco, Southpoint, and St. Augustine. Schedule an appointment at one of our nine locations.