Glaucoma is defined as a group of eye diseases characterized by damage to the optic nerve, usually due to excessively high intraocular pressure (IOP). If untreated, this increased pressure in the eye can lead to optic nerve damage resulting in progressive, permanent vision loss.
There are no symptoms in the early stage of glaucoma. Vision loss usually begins with unnoticeable blind spots at the edges of the field of vision, progressing to tunnel vision and then to blindness. Often, by the time the patient notices vision loss, the disease can only be halted, not reversed. Because of this, glaucoma is often called “the sneak thief of sight.”
There are several different types of glaucoma, including open-angle glaucoma and acute angle-closure glaucoma. Open-angle glaucoma is the more common adult-onset type. Acute angle-closure glaucoma is a less common form of glaucoma that can rapidly impair vision.
The treatment of glaucoma may include medication, surgery, or laser surgery. Eye drops or pills alone can usually control glaucoma, although they cannot cure it. Some drugs are designed to reduce pressure by slowing the flow of fluid into the eye, while others help to improve fluid drainage. Surgery to help fluid escape from the eye and laser surgery is now often used for the same purpose. During laser surgery for glaucoma, a laser beam of light is focused on the part of the anterior chamber where the fluid leaves the eye. This results in a series of small changes, making it easier for fluid to exit. However, over time the effect of laser surgery may wear off.
It is important to have your eyes checked annually to maintain optimal vision and eye health. Early diagnosis of glaucoma is crucial in preventing total vision loss. For more information about glaucoma or to schedule an eye examination with one of our doctors in Phoenix, contact Associated Retina Consultants at 602-242-4928 or associatedretinaconsultants.com today.