Glaucoma is a severe eye condition that affects the optic nerve. It is also one of the leading causes of vision loss in people over 60. Because glaucoma is such a serious condition and early diagnosis is essential in preserving your vision, you should make annual eye exams with Riviera Opticare a priority.
Two Types of Glaucoma
There are two types of glaucoma. The symptoms you experience and the treatment you would require depends on the type of glaucoma that you have.
Open-angle glaucoma is the most common form of the disease. It occurs when the eye's drainage system becomes blocked, and the fluid drains slowly. This causes pressure in the eye to increase.
Angle-closure glaucoma occurs when the eye's drainage system becomes completely clogged, and the fluid in the eye cannot drain, causing a rapid increase in pressure.
Who Is at Risk for Glaucoma?
While anyone can develop glaucoma, certain factors can increase your risk of developing the disease. The risk factors include:
- Being over 60-years-old
- Having a family history of glaucoma
- Being African-American, Asian, or Hispanic
- Being extremely nearsighted or farsighted
- Having a previous eye injury or eye surgery
- Prolong used of corticosteroid medications
- High blood pressure
- Heart disease
What Are the Symptoms of Glaucoma?
In the early stages, open-angle glaucoma shows no symptoms. It isn't until permanent vision loss occurs that you would suspect that there is something wrong.
Because angle-closure glaucoma causes the pressure in the eye to increase rapidly, the symptoms come on suddenly. They include:
- Severe headache
- Severe eye pain
- Blurry vision
- Halos around the lights
- Redness of the eye
- Nausea and vomiting
How Is Glaucoma Diagnosed?
There are a few tests that your optometrist will perform to test for glaucoma. During your annual eye exam, your eye doctor will perform tonometry to check your intraocular pressure. If the pressure is high, your eye doctor will perform a visual field test to determine if you have lost any peripheral vision. A gonioscopy will be performed to inspect your eye's drainage angle. Finally, they will take photos of your optic nerve to track the progression of the disease.
How Is Glaucoma Treated?
During the early stages of glaucoma, your doctor will prescribe eye drops designed to reduce the pressure in your eye. During the later stages, there are a few treatment options available.
- Laser trabeculoplasty: This is an effective treatment for open-angle glaucoma. Your eye doctor would use a small laser to open your eye's drainage system.
- Filtering surgery: During this procedure, your eye doctor would create a hole in the white of your eye for the fluid to drain through.
- Laser peripheral iridotomy: This is a common treatment for angle-closure glaucoma. Your optometrist would create a small hole in your iris using a laser, allowing the fluid to drain.
Because glaucoma shows no early signs, annual eye exams are essential. If you live in the Mesa or Scottsdale area, our doctors of optometry, at Riviera Opticare, will test for glaucoma and various other diseases of the eye. To schedule an appointment, give us a call today.