Glaucoma is a disease in which pressure builds in the eye and can result
in damage to the optic nerve. There are several types of
glaucoma, but the two most common forms primary are open-angle glaucoma (POAG)
and angle-closure glaucoma (ACG). There is no treatment to restore vision
that is lost due to glaucoma, so prevention and treatment of the condition
are crucial to avoid vision loss. It is important to be aware of the signs
and symptoms of glaucoma so you are able to receive treatment before vision is lost.
Warning signs and symptoms of open-angle glaucoma
Unfortunately, open-angle glaucoma typically has no symptoms until some
vision loss has occurred. This type of glaucoma develops slowly, and changes
in sight are slight and over several years. Initially, it is side or peripheral
vision that is affected, which is why an individual with open-angle glaucoma
may not notice changes in vision. By the time vision changes are noticed,
significant vision has been lost, and it is too late to restore that vision loss.
Because there are no clear signs or symptoms of open-angle glaucoma, regular
eye exams are critical. Your eye doctor can test for glaucoma during an annual,
comprehensive eye exam. If he or she detects glaucoma, preventative treatments may be prescribed
to help prevent vision loss.
Warning signs and symptoms of angle-closure glaucoma
Unlike open-angle glaucoma, there are noticeable symptoms of angle-closure
glaucoma. These warning signs and symptoms include:
- Severe eye and/or head pain
- Nausea and/or vomiting
- Blurred or hazy vision
- Appearance of rainbows around bright lights
- Sudden loss of sight
Simple tests to measure eye pressure and a microscopic inspection will
usually alert your doctor of any problems that may suggest glaucoma. If
glaucoma is suspected, a nerve fiber analyzer may be used to determine
if there is any damage to the optic nerve as well as a visual field test
to measure the amount of peripheral vision loss. There is no prevention
for glaucoma, but progression of the disease can be slowed down with early
detection and treatment. It is important that your eye doctor is aware
of any family history of glaucoma.
Treatment for glaucoma typically consists of prescribed medicated eye drops
to control the pressure within the eye. In severe cases, Selective Laser
Trabeculoplasty (SLT) can be performed to open drainage holes in the eye,
allowing the fluid to move more freely to reduce the high pressure. This
procedure could eliminate the need for eye drops.
Because glaucoma could result in vision loss, it is critical to know the
warning signs and symptoms of the disease, and to seek immediate treatment.
People who have a family history of the disease, high blood pressure or
high blood sugar may be at higher risk of developing glaucoma.
Contact Key-Whitman today to
schedule a comprehensive eye exam to test your eyes for signs of glaucoma.