What is glaucoma?

Glaucoma is a condition that causes damage to your optic nerve, the nerve that delivers visual stimuli from your eye to your brain. The condition initially causes loss of peripheral vision but over time, can cause you to lose your vision entirely. Unfortunately, you might not notice that something is wrong until the condition has progressed beyond repair.

The team at VIP Laser Eye Center can identify signs of glaucoma during your regular eye exams.

High pressure in your eye is a common cause of glaucoma. The pressure comes from the fluid in your eyeball, called aqueous humor, that normally drains out naturally. If the drainage system isn’t working properly or if you produce too much aqueous humor, you might develop glaucoma over time.

Which form of glaucoma do I have?

There are several different forms of glaucoma. Some of them are easier to identify because the symptoms are more noticeable. During your eye exams at VIP Laser Eye Center, the team can inform you if you have:

Open-Angle Glaucoma

If you have open-angle glaucoma, the most common form, the drainage system, called the trabecular meshwork, is partially blocked. This can result in elevated eye pressure, causing slow degeneration of your optic nerve. Initially, you may develop small blind spots in your peripheral vision that can go unnoticed. This disease has the best prognosis when caught early, before noticeable, irreversible nerve damage and vision loss has occurred. The only way to detect early signs and vision loss is with testing and an thorough exam by your ophthalmologist.

Angle-Closure Glaucoma

Angle-closure glaucoma can develop slowly or very quickly. Acute angle-closure glaucoma, which is an emergency, is caused by a sudden complete blockage of the drainage system and results in a sudden increase in eye pressure leading to severe pain and rapid vision loss if left untreated. Chronic angle-closure glaucoma, on the other hand, is more like open angle glaucoma in that it develops slowly over time and may be asymptomatic until late in the disease when irreversible vision loss has already occurred.

Normal-Tension Glaucoma

Normal-tension glaucoma is a type of glaucoma in which optic nerve damage and vision loss occur despite having eye pressure within the normal range for the population. Experts don’t know the exact cause, but it is more difficult to treat than other forms of glaucoma. Lowering your eye pressure with drops or other modalities can still help prevent the progression of the disease.

Pigmentary Glaucoma

Pigmentary glaucoma is a less common form of glaucoma that occurs when pigment particles from your iris build up in the drainage system. Often, your doctor can identify the reason for the pigment build up and treat the underlying cause to prevent glaucoma progression.

How is glaucoma treated?

At VIP Laser Eye Center, the team will work with you to diagnose your glaucoma and come up with the best possible individualized treatment plan for your case to preserve your vision. Your treatment plan may include:

Prescription eye drops

Certain prescription eye drops can help lower your eye pressure. If eye does not respond to the drops, the team might prescribe you an oral medication with the same purpose.

Glaucoma surgery

There are several surgical methods available to treat glaucoma, including minimally invasive surgery, drainage tubes, and laser glaucoma surgery intended to reduce eye pressure.

Lifestyle changes

Making certain changes to your lifestyle can promote eye health and even control the pressure inside your eyes. The team may recommend limiting caffeine, stop smoking, exercising more frequently, and adjusting your diet to include more vitamins and nutrients.

To find out if you have glaucoma and to explore your options for treatment, call VIP Laser Eye Center today.

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