Glaucoma Diagnosis & Treatment
Glaucoma refers to a group of eye conditions that lead to damage to the optic nerve. This nerve carries visual information from the eye to the brain. At Lawrenceville Family Eyecare, we have the clinical knowledge and expertise necessary to diagnose and treat glaucoma.
Glaucoma is an eye disease in which the passages that allow fluid in the eye to drain become clogged or blocked. This results in the amount of fluid in the eye building up and causing increased pressure inside the eye. This increased pressure damages the optic nerve which connects the eye to the brain. The optic nerve is the main carrier of vision information to the brain.
Damage to it results in less information sent to the brain and a loss of vision. The exact cause of glaucoma is not known, and it cannot currently be prevented. It is one of the leading causes of blindness in the United States. However, if glaucoma is detected at an early stage and treated promptly, it can usually be controlled with little or no further vision loss. Regular eye exams are an essential step in early detection and treatment.
Who Develops Glaucoma and What Are the Symptoms?
People of all ages can develop glaucoma, but it most frequently occurs in people:
- who are over age 40
- who have a family history of glaucoma
- who are very nearsighted
- who are diabetic
- who are of African or West Indies descent
Research has shown that African Americans are affected 4-5 times more often than Caucasian Americans and are 6-15 times more likely to go blind from glaucoma. For all races, the risk for glaucoma increases with age, especially after age 40 (although it can occur at any age). There also is a hereditary tendency: glaucoma occurs at least twice as often among people who have blood relatives with glaucoma. Risk also is greater for people who have had an eye injury or eye surgery.
Of the different types of glaucoma, primary open angle glaucoma often develops gradually and painlessly, without warning signs or symptoms. This type of glaucoma is more common among African Americans than Caucasians. It can cause damage and lead to blindness, making regular eye examinations particularly important for African Americans over age 35.
Another type of the eye disease, acute angle-closure glaucoma, may be accompanied by:
- blurred vision
- a loss of side vision
- appearance of colored rings around lights
- pain or redness s in the eyes
How Is Glaucoma Diagnosed?
Regular eye examinations are an important means of detecting glaucoma in its early stages and will include:
- Tonometry: a simple and painless measurement of the pressure in the eye.
- Ophthalmoscopy: an examination of the back of the eye to observe the health of the optic nerve.
- Visual Field Test: a check for the development of abnormal blind spots.
- Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT): This device can scan the 10 layers of the retina which is less than 1mm to detect early changes in diabetic patients. It is also used to measure the nerve fiber thickness of the optic nerve to detect and manage glaucoma.
How Is Glaucoma Treated?
At our eyecare center, we carefully monitor the progress of eye disease with our glaucoma patients.
Glaucoma can usually be treated effectively by using eye drops or other medicines. In some cases, surgery may be necessary. Unfortunately, any loss of vision from glaucoma cannot usually be restored. But early detection, prompt treatment, and regular monitoring can enable you to continue living in much the same way as you have always lived.
Protect yourself from eye disease complications by having regulation eye examinations. Contact our office today to schedule your exam.