Glaucoma is a serious condition that can lead to blindness. The insidious nature of glaucoma is that it often has no symptoms until vision loss has occurred. This is why your Wilmington eye doctor always conducts a test for glaucoma at every visit.
What is Glaucoma?
Physically, glaucoma is a build-up of fluid pressure in the eye. Your eye has fluid called aqueous humor, which flows through a channel. When that channel is blocked or narrowed, the fluid can’t pass through as it should. This creates pressure that inhibits the optic nerve from functioning properly. This is what causes the vision loss associated with glaucoma.
What Causes Glaucoma?
Several different factors can cause glaucoma. While glaucoma primarily affects older people, not all elderly people develop glaucoma. So old age is a factor, but not a cause.
Other things have been identified as high-risk factors for glaucoma, including:
- Systemic inflammation
- Family history of glaucoma
- Nearsighted or farsighted
- Certain prescription medications like prednisone
- Eye trauma
- High blood pressure
- Heart disease
- Sickle cell anemia
How is Glaucoma Treated?
Glaucoma can be treated with one or multiple treatments, available through your eye doctor. These treatments may include eye drops, oral medication, management of underlying conditions such as diabetes and laser surgery. The treatments available to any particular patient will depend upon the individual circumstances as well as the stage of glaucoma that they are in.
Can Glaucoma Ever Return?
After treatment, it’s important that the patient have regular eye checkups, because glaucoma can return. This is especially true if underlying conditions like heart disease or diabetes still exist. It’s also important to note that if surgery was used the first time, it may not be possible a second time.
Because glaucoma is such an insidious disease with few symptoms, your best option is to visit your eye doctor as often as recommended. For more information about glaucoma tests, please contact us.