Glaucoma is an eye condition that causes blindness in many older adults. There are treatments available, but the condition has no permanent cure. If you have glaucoma, our optometrists here at Vision Quest Eye Care Center, Inc in Dover & Milford can help you manage your condition successfully.
Types of Glaucoma
There are several different types of glaucoma, all of which cause vision loss due to damage to the optic nerve. In most cases, this is caused by increased pressure within the eye (intraocular pressure). However, some people suffer from normal-tension glaucoma, where the symptoms of glaucoma occur even though your intraocular pressure is normal.
The increased pressure characteristic of glaucoma is caused by excess fluid production, drainage blockages, or a combination of both. This fluid builds up in the eye, but because it cannot escape, it creates pressure and slowly, over time, damages the optic nerve.
Most types of glaucoma are chronic and come on slowly. However, acute angle-closure glaucoma is a medical emergency. It typically presents with extreme eye pain, headache, nausea and vomiting, and eye redness.
Signs and Symptoms
The signs and symptoms of glaucoma are subtle and easily missed. With the exception of acute angle-closure glaucoma, the condition is painless. Vision loss due to glaucoma can occur so gradually that you do not notice a problem until significant sight has been lost. Once the signs are noticeable, they usually include peripheral or central vision loss, including blind spots. Tunnel vision is characteristic of severe glaucoma.
During a routine eye exam, our optometrist will measure the pressure in your eyes using a device called a tonometer. We will also inspect your eyes using dilating eye drops and a microscope in order to look for damage to the optic nerve. Additional tests may be used if we believe that they could be beneficial.
Prevention and Treatment
Glaucoma is hard to prevent because many of the risk factors are not under your control:
- Being 60 or older
- Being Asian, Hispanic, or black
- Having a history of eye injury or eye surgery
- Being extremely nearsighted or farsighted
- Having certain medical conditions such as diabetes
- Having a family history of the disease
Luckily, there are successful treatments available. Most people with glaucoma will be treated with prescription eye drops that are used to manage the pressure. If this does not work, an oral version of one of the drugs used may be prescribed. Some people benefit from laser or surgical procedures to open the drainage pathways in their eyes.
Optometry in Dover & Milford
Here at Vision Quest Eye Care Center, Inc in Dover & Milford, we have a commitment to providing high-quality optometry services for patients with all kinds of eye disorders, including glaucoma. If you need help with your eye condition or are concerned about your vision, call us today at 302-678-3545 (Dover location) or 302-424-9424 (Milford location) to make an appointment.