Glaucoma is a group of diseases that damage the eye’s optic nerve. Without treatment, glaucoma can progress to permanent, irreversible vision loss.
Causes of Glaucoma
There are different types of glaucoma. Most occur when pressure in the eye (intraocular) increases, damaging the optic nerve but sometimes optic nerve damage can occur even when intraocular pressure is normal.
Other types of glaucoma are rare and are caused by abnormal eye development, drugs, eye infections or inflammatory conditions, interruption of blood supply to the eye, systemic diseases and trauma.
Symptoms of Glaucoma
Glaucoma is sometimes referred to as the “silent thief of sight” because the only symptom is a gradual loss of vision which most do not notice. When symptoms are present they may include:
- Sudden severe eye/brow pain or headache
- Nausea and vomiting
- Blurred vision
- Halos around lights
- Sudden loss of sight
- Eye redness
Glaucoma Risk Factors
Anyone can develop glaucoma, but some individuals are considered higher risk. Risk factors include:
- Being age 60 and above
- A family history of glaucoma
- African American, Hispanic or Asian Heritage
- Migraines or Raynaud’s Phenomenon
- Oral contraceptive medications
- Sleep apnea
- Long-term corticosteroid medication use
- Medical conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease
Glaucoma is diagnosed through a comprehensive eye exam performed by an eye doctor. Those at high risk should schedule a thorough eye exam at an ophthalmology clinic every three to four months.
There is no cure for glaucoma, but Dr. Yomtoob may prescribe eye drops to slow the progression of the condition. It is vital that you take all medications regularly as prescribed.
If the condition is not controlled by medication, surgery may be recommended. Your surgeon will discuss the options, which may include laser or conventional surgery.
Sudden severe eye pain or vision changes require emergency treatment.