Glaucoma and the Retina: The Link You Need to Know
Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases that can cause vision loss and blindness by damaging the optic nerve located at the back of the eye. The optic nerve transmits electrical impulses from the eyes to the brain processing sensory information to interpret what you see. The retina converts light that enters the eye into those electrical impulses thereby playing a key role in your vision. The retina is the innermost layer of the eye that turns light energy into three-dimensional images. The link between receiving information and interpreting what you see is the optic nerve; likewise, the link between glaucoma and the retina is also the optic nerve.
Glaucoma is a disease associated with the characteristic damage of the optic nerve usually brought on by intraocular pressure. The eye contains over a million retinal ganglion cells, the major output cells of the retina. Retinal ganglion cells project their axons which are neurons that collect visual information perceived by the eye. Axons are found along the optic nerve and their placement create its form. With 125 million photoreceptors per retina, the average retinal ganglion cell receives input from nearly 100 cones and rods. In the center, fovea, of the retina the cells communicate with an average of 5 photoreceptors; in the extreme periphery of the retina, or outer ends of the retina, a single retinal ganglion cell can communicate with thousands of photoreceptors. Glaucoma damages the retinal ganglion cells eventually causing them to die. Without retinal ganglion cells, the axons that form the optic nerve are damaged causing irreversible loss of functions. Because retinal ganglion cells do not regenerate, the eyes can suffer permanent vision loss or blindness.
Retinal imaging can help detect many vision-threatening conditions such as macular degeneration, diabetic eye disease, retinal hole or detachment and glaucoma. Although glaucoma is usually hereditary, maintaining a healthy diet, safely exercising, limiting caffeine, elevating your head while sleeping and taking prescribed medications that help to lower eye pressure may lower your risks of developing glaucoma.
To check on the health of your retina and any link to glaucoma or other eye diseases, schedule an appointment by calling 602-242-4928. In addition to our care and treatment options, the team at Associated Retina Consultants desires to keep our patients educated on the various topics related to the retina and eye health. For similar articles to “Glaucoma and the Retina: The Link You Need to Know”, follow this link WEBSITE.