There are two main types of glaucoma, and both are very serious. Glaucoma causes damage to the optic nerve, which can ultimately lead to vision loss. Unfortunately, there is no cure for glaucoma. However, the professionals at Wilkins' Opticians can create a treatment plan to slow the disease's progression, preserving your vision.
The Two Types Of Glaucoma
Open-angle glaucoma occurs when the eye's drainage system does not work properly. The fluid drains slowly, like a backed-up drain. When the fluid cannot drain properly, it causes an increase in eye pressure, which causes damage to the optic nerve and peripheral vision loss.
Angle-closure glaucoma is less common, and It occurs when the eye's drainage system becomes completely clogged, which causes a rapid increase in eye pressure. This type also causes peripheral vision loss.
Glaucoma Risk Factors
Although anyone can develop glaucoma, certain factors can increase your risk of developing the disease. These include:
- Family history of glaucoma
- Being over 60-years-old
- Health conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and sickle cell anemia
- Being extremely nearsighted or farsighted
- A previous eye injury or eye surgery
- Long term use of corticosteroid medications, particularly eye drops
Symptoms of Glaucoma
Open-angle glaucoma causes no early symptoms, which is why it earned the nickname the silent thief of sight. It is not until you start losing your peripheral vision that you will know there is a problem. If left untreated, glaucoma can progress to tunnel vision and ultimately into vision loss.
Angle-closure glaucoma causes a rapid spike in eye pressure, which causes serious symptoms, including:
- Severe headaches
- Severe eye pain
- Blurry vision
- Halos around lights
- Redness of the eyes
- Nausea and vomiting
Glaucoma can be diagnosed during your annual eye exam. During the exam, our eye doctor will perform tonometry, which measures your eye pressure. If it is high, other tests will be performed to further determine if you have glaucoma. These include:
- Gonioscopy to inspect the drainage angle
- Dilated eye exam to check for damage to the optic nerve
- Visual field test to check for areas of vision loss
In the early stages, our optometrist will monitor your condition. We may also prescribe eye drops to reduce the pressure in your eyes. As the disease progresses, our eye doctor may choose one of the following treatment methods:
- Laser trabeculoplasty: This is a laser surgical procedure that opens the clogged channels in your eye's drainage system. It is typically used to treat open-angle glaucoma.
- Drainage tubes: Our eye doctor can insert a small shunt in your eye to drain the excess fluid for patients with open-angle glaucoma.
- Laser peripheral iridotomy: This is a treatment for angle-closure glaucoma. Our eye doctor will use a laser to create a small opening in the iris to allow the fluid to drain.
Optometry Services in Spartanburg
For more information on glaucoma or to schedule an appointment with our eye doctor, call Wilkins’ Opticians today at (864) 585-2249.