Glaucoma

Glaucoma results from progressive damage to the optic nerve which can lead to “tunnel vision” if left untreated.  Glaucoma develops when the pressure inside the eye begins to damage nerve fibers resulting in permanent vision loss.  Because glaucoma does not usually cause pain or symptoms in early stages, many people do not realize they have signs of the condition until they are examined.  Glaucoma is a lifelong condition that can be easily managed when detected early.

Symptoms: Angle Closure Glaucoma may result in a red, painful or “sore” eye. This is the result of the drainage system in the eye being blocked resulting in an acute “spike” in the internal eye pressure. Additional signs include blurred vision and appearance of colored rings around lights (halos).

Primary Open Angle Glaucoma is a progressive condition that often develops painlessly and without symptoms, which can lead to vision loss without warning.

Diagnosis: Yearly dilated eye exams with eye pressure checks are recommended for those with clinical signs of Glaucoma.  Corneal thickness measurements are taken to help confirm the accuracy of the eye pressure.  A visual field assessment helps classify the degree of retinal function and potential damage.  It is important to assess the thickness and stability of retinal nerve tissue over time to determine if intervention needs to be taken.

Treatment: Prescription eye drops are the first line of treatment in most cases to lower eye pressure.  These are longterm medicated drops that must be taken regularly as prescribed.  Laser surgery and implants may be utilized when drops are ineffective.  Treatments aim at preventing vision loss, which cannot be restored.  In some cases, low vision devices and rehabilitation services may be necessary for those with severe vision loss.  It is crucial to detect and treat early signs of glaucoma to reduce the risk of permanent vision loss from occurring.