Can Glaucoma Be Reversed?

Affecting nearly 3 million people in the U.S., glaucoma is one of the most serious eye diseases and is a leading cause of blindness. Since there is no pain associated with the onset of glaucoma, many people do not realize they have it until it is in its later stages. Caused by increased pressure within the eye that damages the optic nerve, many who have glaucoma wonder if it is a condition that can be reversed. In many cases, the answer is both yes and no.

Can Glaucoma be Reversed?

For this question, the answer is no. Once a person is diagnosed with glaucoma, there is currently no cure for the condition so that it can be reversed, and no way to undo the damage already done in terms of vision loss. However, that does not mean a patient should lose hope.

Reversing the Underlying Cause

While it may not be possible to reverse glaucoma itself, it is however quite possible to reverse the underlying cause that leads to the condition, namely the increased eye pressure. To do so, an ophthalmologist can examine a patient’s eyes, measure the pressure being placed on the optic nerve, and then prescribe eye drops that help fluid drain from the eyes, thus reducing the pressure. For some patients, oral medications such as carbonic anhydrase inhibitors may be used in conjunction with eye drops. In extremely severe cases, laser surgery can be used to open clogged channels within the eyes to allow for proper fluid drainage, or an eye surgeon can insert small drainage tubes to help lower eye pressure.

Since detecting glaucoma in its early stages is the key to avoiding serious problems later on, schedule an exam as soon as possible with your eye doctor, especially if you are experiencing vision loss or other issues.

 

Does Glaucoma Always Lead to Blindness?

Glaucoma is a disease that affects the health of the eyes and—eventually—the vision of the eyes. It’s important to distinguish between these two, because it’s possible to have clear vision while your eye health is being compromised by the advancement of glaucoma. This means that a person may have no symptoms of glaucoma at all, allowing this disease to silently worsen to the point of blindness. This is why your Wilmington optometrist gives you a glaucoma test during every appointment, even if you come in for an entirely different reason.

What is Glaucoma?

Glaucoma progresses over a long period of time. Pressure builds up behind the eye, causing a buildup of fluid. This buildup puts pressure on the optic nerve, disrupting the signals between your eyes and your brain. Without the flow of those signals, the capacity for vision is lost. In other words, the patient goes blind. Glaucoma can technically affect people of all ages, but it’s most common in those over 40.

Untreated Glaucoma Leads to Blindness

Unless glaucoma is treated, it almost always leads to blindness eventually. Vision loss will progress slowly over a period of years, but the loss will be permanent and 100% unless the disease is treated. At any stage during this progression, the disease may be halted or at least slowed in its advancement toward blindness. However, this is an outcome that doesn’t necessarily have to happen. With routine testing for glaucoma at your vision center in Wilmington, in coordination with any necessary treatment, glaucoma doesn’t have to lead to total blindness.

Each time you visit Paul Vision Institute in Wilmington, you’ll be tested for glaucoma. The test is fast, painless and non-invasive. Yet, this simple test aids in the prevention of the devastating and preventable disease of glaucoma.