Glaucoma: Symptoms, Risk Factors, Diagnosis, and Treatment
A leading cause of blindness in the world today and incurable, glaucoma is causes damage to the optic nerve. While there are several types of glaucoma, Dr. Haley Swift, your San Antonio optometrist, knows that in the most common form, glaucoma rarely exhibits any symptoms until much of the patient’s vision is already lost. Dr. Swift and her capable staff at Today’s Vision Bulverde are here to help you protect your precious sight from this silent thief.
What Is Glaucoma?
The anterior chamber of your eye is filled with aqueous humor. This watery fluid drains out of the eye through a mesh-like channel. When the channel becomes partially or entirely blocked, the fluid cannot flow out properly. Therefore, the intraocular pressure (IOP) in the eye increases. As it builds up, damage to your optic nerve occurs, and vision is lost.
Types of Glaucoma
Primary Open-Angle Glaucoma: This is the most common type and develops slowly and without noticeable symptoms until permanent damage has already occurred.
Angle-Closure Glaucoma: In this form, the drainage system abruptly closes. Angle-closure glaucoma is a medical emergency and causes abrupt vision loss and severe pain.
Secondary Glaucoma: This type develops as a complication of conditions like diabetes, hypertension, eye injury, or steroid use.
Risk Factors for Glaucoma
- Heredity: Glaucoma run in families
- Race: African Americans age 40 and older are at higher risk
- Age: If you are 60 or older, the risk increases
- History of Trauma: An eye injury increases the chances of developing it
- Medication: A frequent use of corticosteroid puts you at risk as well
Symptoms of Glaucoma
Since glaucoma, specifically open-angle, does not show noticeable symptoms, it is highly recommended to see an optometrist for an eye exam to find out if glaucoma is developing. Some advanced symptoms of glaucoma include:
- Severe vision loss
- Tunnel (narrowed) vision
- Eye pain, with or without nausea or vomiting
- Halos around bright lights
How is Glaucoma Diagnosed?
Our optometrist will perform a comprehensive eye examination to diagnose glaucoma, which includes discussing your general health, family history, medications you take, and any symptoms you may be experiencing.
How Is Glaucoma Treated?
Treatment for glaucoma starts with medicated eye drops. These drops help reduce the pressure in the eyes, thus, relieving the symptoms. If the drops do not work, surgical intervention is necessary. In this care, our optometrist is happy to refer to you to an ophthalmologist for continuing treatment.
Contact Our Team in San Antonio Today
Since glaucoma is incurable, early detection of the disease is vital. The sooner glaucoma is detected, the sooner it can be treated. If you or a loved one are experiencing any of the symptoms listed above, call Today’s Vision Bulverde, your San Antonio optometrist, for an appointment today. We’re here to help. Our number is 210-307-4749.