What is Glaucoma?
Glaucoma is a disease in which the optic nerve is damaged, typically due to elevated pressure in the eye. The optic nerve is similar to a cable which transmits the images seen by the eyes back to the brain. The brain then interprets the images. If enough damage to the optic nerve occurs, complete loss of vision can result.
How do I know if I have glaucoma?
Optic nerve damage caused by glaucoma frequently affects only the peripheral vision making it difficult for patients to notice visual changes. This insidious symptom is what can make glaucoma so easy to overlook and so difficult to diagnose without a proper eye examination from an ophthalmologist. Unfortunately, patients sometimes do not go for an eye exam until after their central vision has been affected at which point the disease is very advanced and irreversible vision loss has occurred.
What are risk factors for glaucoma?
Age over 50, family history of glaucoma, high blood pressure, diabetes, and severe near-sightedness are all known risk factors for glaucoma.
How is glaucoma treated?
Glaucoma can be treated using prescription eye drops, laser procedures, and surgical intervention. All of these treatments are designed to lower the pressure in the eye. The most important part of treating glaucoma is maintaining close follow up with an ophthalmologist to ensure that the disease is controlled and that no further damage to the optic nerve is occurring.