Glaucoma is the leading cause of blindness worldwide. It is commonly referred to as the silent thief of sight as it often causes no tell-tale symptoms until permanent vision loss begins to occur.
For this reason, it’s important to visit your eye doctor regularly so that it can be detected early. Keep reading to learn some signs and symptoms of glaucoma!
Does Glaucoma Cause Symptoms?
Since it is typically asymptomatic, you might not realize you are developing glaucoma until it begins to adversely affect your vision. Glaucoma occurs when the fluid in your eye, called aqueous humor, does not drain properly.
The buildup of this fluid creates pressure within your eye that gradually causes irreversible damage to your optic nerve. With most types of glaucoma, this pressure is painless and causes no noticeable discomfort.
The exception to this slow development is a type of glaucoma called angle-closure glaucoma. Angle-closure glaucoma can cause a sudden onset of symptoms, including eye pain, blurred vision, headaches, and nausea.
These symptoms usually come on suddenly. Angle closure must be treated immediately in order to prevent permanent vision loss.
The changes to the quality of your vision are also gradual. Typically, as your vision slowly becomes impaired, you may notice a loss of peripheral vision or blind spots in your whole field of vision.
If glaucoma is left untreated, damage to the optic nerve will eventually cause complete loss of vision.
Are There Treatment Options for Glaucoma?
Today, glaucoma does not have lead to blindness. While there is no cure for glaucoma, treatments are available to manage the condition.
The main goal of glaucoma treatment is to lower eye pressure and prevent further optic nerve damage. Eye doctors aim to accomplish this through the use of eye drops, oral medications, and surgery, often used in combination for maximum benefits.
Usually, eye care providers will try to control the progression of glaucoma by using non-surgical options. If these are ineffective, advanced surgical treatment options can help control eye pressure and prevent vision loss.
Importance of Routine Eye Care
Treatments for glaucoma are most successful when glaucoma is diagnosed early. The most important thing you can do to ensure early detection of glaucoma is to schedule regular comprehensive eye exams with a knowledgeable and experienced eye care provider.
At these exams, your eye care provider will perform a careful examination of your retina and optic nerve. They will also test your eye pressure.
It is also important to familiarize yourself and your eye care provider with your family’s medical history. A family history of glaucoma can significantly increase the likelihood that you will also develop the condition.
Other factors which can increase your risk for glaucoma include high blood pressure, diabetes, the use of corticosteroid medicines and past eye injuries, or intensive eye surgeries. Age is also a significant risk factor, as glaucoma most commonly affects people over the age of forty.
While it can be alarming to realize that glaucoma often develops without any immediate symptoms, it can be reassuring to know that early detection and treatment are the best ways to prevent permanent vision loss. Make Shepherd Eye Center your partner in maintaining the health of your eyes and the quality of your vision by scheduling a comprehensive eye exam with us today!
Do you want to learn more about glaucoma or determine if you may be at risk for the eye condition? Schedule an appointment at Shepherd Eye Center at one of our 5 locations in Las Vegas or Henderson, NV, today!