Glaucoma: Frequently Asked Questions

Diagram of an eye with glaucoma Glaucoma is an eye condition that is characterized by a buildup of pressure due to an abnormal flow of fluid in the eye. People who have a family history of the disease, high blood pressure or high blood sugar may be at higher risk of developing glaucoma. As with any disease or medical condition, adjusting to life with glaucoma can be a challenging. However, glaucoma does not have to take over your life.

As with any medical diagnosis, being diagnosed with glaucoma may leave you with several questions. Below are some of the most commonly asked questions about glaucoma:

How is Glaucoma Detected? 

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.

Could My Glaucoma Have Been Prevented? 

There is no prevention for glaucoma, but progression of the disease can be slowed down with early detection and treatment. During routine eye exams, your doctor may perform a variety of tests on your eyes, which may indicate the onset of glaucoma. It is important that your eye doctor is aware of any family history of glaucoma.

What Are the Risk Factors Associated With Glaucoma?

There are many factors that may increase your risk of developing glaucoma, these factors include:

  • Family history of glaucoma
  • History of serious eye injury
  • Adults over 50
  • African-American adults over 40
  • Taking steroid medications
  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Myopia (nearsightedness)

Will I Go Blind If I Have Glaucoma?

If you follow your doctor’s treatment plan, including taking any prescribed medications, chances are good that you will not suffer complete vision loss. Treatment can slow the progression of the disease and damage to the optic nerve caused by pressure buildup in the eye.

Can Damage From Glaucoma Be Reversed? 

Damage to your eyes from glaucoma cannot be reversed. Once your vision is lost, you cannot get it back. Again, this is why early detection through routine eye exams is essential.

How is Glaucoma Treated? 

There are a number of effective treatments for glaucoma that can slow the progression and damage to the optic nerve. These treatments include prescription medications or eye drops. In some cases, Laser Trabeculoplasty may be necessary to open drainage holes in the eye allowing the fluid to flow more freely to reduce the high pressure and may eliminate the need for daily eye drops.

Can I Still Wear Contact Lenses If I Have Glaucoma? 

This is dependent on your treatment plan. Some prescription eye drops may keep you from being able to wear contact lenses.

Although there is no prevention for glaucoma, early detection and treatment can decrease pressure in the eye, slowing progression of damage to the optic nerve. Maintain regular comprehensive eye exams with your eye doctor. Contact us to schedule a comprehensive eye exam at Key-Whitman Eye Center.