10 FAQs About Glaucoma

Have you been diagnosed with glaucoma? Glaucoma is something that we often hear about but don’t think will happen to us. Fortunately, we know more about glaucoma than ever before thanks to advances in technology. By diagnosing the condition early on, you can receive early treatment and lower your risk for vision loss.

When diagnosed with glaucoma, it helps to be informed. Below are ten questions that we commonly hear from patients and their answers.

What is glaucoma?

Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases that cause damage to the optic nerve. Usually, the damage is caused by high intraocular eye pressure. Left untreated, glaucoma can cause blindness.

Are there different types of glaucoma?

There are two main types of glaucoma. The most common form is open-angle glaucoma, which occurs slowly and gradually. The first symptom is usually a loss of peripheral vision. Angle-closure glaucoma is less common but more severe. The symptoms are acute and include blurry vision, severe eye pain, headache and seeing rainbows or halos.

What causes glaucoma?

Clear fluid flows in and out of a space at the front of the eye. If this fluid drains too slowly, it builds up and places pressure on the optic nerve. The nerve can then become damaged. Each person is different, though. Some people tolerate high levels of pressure while others do not.

What are the signs and symptoms of glaucoma?

Until vision loss occurs, there are usually no signs of glaucoma. This is why it’s so important to have regular eye exams, as glaucoma can be caught during a standard exam. As the condition progresses, some people may notice blurry vision, distorted vision or vision loss.

Who is most likely to get glaucoma?

Sadly, glaucoma is the leading cause of blindness in the United States. It does not discriminate. However, people who are over the age 60 and have a family history of the disease are more at risk.

Is there any way to prevent glaucoma?

Researchers aren’t sure if there are ways to decrease the chances for glaucoma, but it’s believed that a healthy lifestyle supports strong eyes and vision. Eye doctors recommend not smoking, maintaining a healthy weight, exercising daily and eating a healthy diet.

Is glaucoma treatable?

Unfortunately, vision loss from glaucoma cannot be reversed. But, if you’re seeing your eye doctor regularly, they can discover glaucoma early. At this point, there are more treatment options available, such as eye drops and laser surgery.

How is glaucoma diagnosed?

During a routine eye exam, the doctor will blow a puff of air into your eyes. It’s an accurate way to measure intraocular pressure, but it’s still a screening measure. For a formal diagnosis, your doctor will likely perform applanation tonometry.

Do I have to see the eye doctor more often with glaucoma?

Many newly diagnosed patients have to see the ophthalmologist more often until they get their eye pressure under control. Even at a safe level, you can expect to see your eye physician several times a year.

Does glaucoma ever go away?

Glaucoma is treatable but not curable. Eye drops, pills and surgeries can prevent further damage to the eyes. Though glaucoma may be a part of your life, you can manage the disease by taking the right medications and seeing your eye doctor regularly.

We hope that we answered some of the questions you might have about glaucoma and what to expect. For a retina specialist who can manage this condition and preserve your vision, contact Empire Retina Consultants today.