Almost 3 million people in the United States have glaucoma. Half of those people know they have glaucoma. While glaucoma cannot be completely cured, it can be treated and needs to be detected as early as possible. Do you know if you have glaucoma?
What exactly is glaucoma? It is a condition that can cause damage to the optic nerve and only gets worse the longer you have it. Intraocular pressure only increases over time which damages the optic nerve, which sends images to the brain. Damage due to glaucoma that continues leads to permanent vision loss.
What Are the Signs of Glaucoma?
The early stages of glaucoma have just a few symptoms, if any at all. Senior citizens are at higher risk for glaucoma than younger people. It is vitally important that you see an eye doctor for regular exams to detect any early signs that are warnings of glaucoma so glaucoma treatments can be given that help save your vision. There are different types of glaucoma that produce alternate warning signs with open-angle glaucoma being the most common form of this eye disease.
There are a few symptoms you may be experiencing that you should tell eye doctors about. Those symptoms could point out the early onset of glaucoma. Symptoms that indicate you could be suffering from glaucoma include seeing halos around lights, the loss of peripheral vision or side vision, redness in eyes, vision loss, vomiting or nausea, eyes that look hazy, narrowing vision aka tunnel vision and pain in the head and in the eye.
What Glaucoma Treatments Are Available?
Glaucoma treatments focus on lowering eye pressure known as intraocular pressure. There are actually a few different types of glaucoma treatments that can be used that all depend on your particular situation. Options could include oral medications, prescription eyedrops, surgery or laser treatment. Glaucoma treatments can be used in combinations to effectively treat patients that require different types of care.
Before any glaucoma treatment is given you will need to discuss a few things with your ophthalmologist. When you schedule an appointment come prepared to discuss your medical history while a comprehensive eye exam is being performed. There are also other types of tests that may be required such as testing for nerve damage by dilating your eyes, imaging tests, measuring intraocular pressure, checking for vision loss with a visual field test, inspecting the drainage angle and measuring your corneal thickness.
How Can Treatment Help?
Unfortunately, the damaged that glaucoma causes cannot be reversed. This does not mean that early treatment along with regular eye exams can’t save your vision. The more you turn to your eye doctor for care, the better your chances are at catching this disease while still in the earliest stages.
Surgery as well as other therapies can improve the drainage of fluid within your eye, which lowers the pressure. Your eye physician will discuss all of your options with you including different types of surgery should you need them. Some of the surgery types include laser therapy via laser trabeculoplasty, filtering surgery called trabeculectomy, the insertion of drainage tubes or MIGS, minimally invasive glaucoma surgery.
Your eye care matters, and you want to be able to see clearly for as long as possible without complications. That’s exactly what an ophthalmologist can do for you when you visit a laser vision center. Follow-up exams are vital so your glaucoma can be monitored over time, and so additional procedures can be scheduled when needed. The moment the rise of eye pressure is detected, is the precise time when you need treatment. You can depend on your ophthalmologist to keep track of any changes that occur and provide the appropriate treatments that help you keep your vision longer.