Glaucoma is an eye disease that most often develops after the age of 60. It is believed to be hereditary, and there have been several genes identified that relate to the development of glaucoma. Glaucoma is associated with elevated eye pressure, and causes progressive damage to the optic nerve that can threaten vision.
When optic nerve damage occurs, it cannot be reversed. Therefore, it is extremely important to have routine eye examinations to screen for glaucoma and other eye conditions.
Glaucoma Types and Symptoms
There are two main types of glaucoma, including open-angle and closed-angle. In order to understand these two types, it’s important to understand how the fluid flows through the front of the eye. Your eyes create fluid that circulates internally. Once the circulation process is complete, it drains through an opening between the iris and cornea, called the trabecular meshwork. When the trabecular meshwork becomes partially or completely clogged, it results in higher than normal eye pressure.
Most individuals have open-angle glaucoma. This occurs when the trabecular meshwork is partially blocked. The decreased flow of fluid results in a gradual increase in eye pressure. The increase is usually so slight that individuals can have significant vision loss before they realize there is a problem. There are typically no other symptoms associated with this form of the disease.
Closed-angle glaucoma is characterized by the complete closure of the trabecular meshwork. The closed-angle form is much more dangerous and can be considered an emergency situation. If your vision suddenly becomes blurry, or you have a sudden severe headache, eye pain, nausea, it is important to call our office immediately to prevent blindness.
Treatments for High Intraocular Eye Pressure
Glaucoma can be treated, and the inner pressure in your eye can be reduced in order to prevent damage to your optic nerve. Common treatments include medications and/or laser eye surgery. Your surgeon or optometrist will determine what type of treatment is needed.
The most common treatment used to reduce internal eye pressure is daily eye drops. These eye drops can either decrease the amount of fluid the eye produces, or they can increase the flow of fluid through the trabecular meshwork.
LASER Eye Surgery (SLT)
LASER Eye surgery, called selective laser trabeculoplasty (SLT), is also an effective and safe way to lower eye pressure and treat glaucoma.
To schedule your next eye exam to have your vision tested and to check for signs and symptoms of glaucoma, call us today.