What Is Glaucoma?
Glaucoma is a disease that occurs when there is an increase in the fluid pressure within the eye. It is often referred to as the “silent thief of sight”, because it can cause blindness with little or no warning. Glaucoma is a group of diseases that as the pressure increases in the eye, the optic nerve is damaged causing loss of vision. Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of blindness in the United States.
Glaucoma affects the side vision early in the disease, while the central vision is not affected until late in the disease process. It is possible to lose half of the optic nerve fibers before a change in vision is noted which is why early detection is so important. The pressure on the optic nerve causes irreversible damage and it is the optic nerve that allows the information that comes into your eyes to be processed in your brain which allows you to see.
There are several different types of glaucoma, but the most common is chronic open-angle glaucoma. In this disease, the pressure builds up slowly over time, so you may not be aware of the problem until your optic nerve is already damaged.
Glaucoma Risk Factors
Glaucoma Patient in MurrietaGlaucoma affects as many as 4 million Americans, or 2% of all adults over the age of 40. Unfortunately, many people with glaucoma don’t even know that they have it because there are not any symptoms in the early stages of the disease.
Glaucoma can be easily diagnosed by your ophthalmologist and treated to prevent optic nerve damage. This is one of the reasons why regular eye examinations for all people over the age of 40 are recommended. While anyone can get glaucoma, there are some people at a greater risk of developing the disease. These groups include:
- People over the age of 40
- People with high blood pressure
- People with a family history of glaucoma
- Those who have suffered an eye injury or trauma
- African Americans are five times more likely to develop glaucoma
Glaucoma Treatment Options
Early Diagnosis Can Save Your Sight
Glaucoma can be easily detected during your regular eye examination. For patients with higher risk factors, LoBue Laser and Eye Medical Centers also offers the revolutionary GDx Laser Scanner and OCT retinal imaging technology. These state-of-the-art analysis techniques are able to detect glaucoma earlier than traditional testing methods. These advanced diagnostic technologies are fast, comfortable and non-invasive. In a matter of minutes, they can determine if there is even the smallest amount of damage to the optic nerve so treatment can begin immediately to prevent vision loss.
LoBue Laser and Eye Medical Centers is a leader in bringing our patients the latest advances for the treatment of glaucoma. While there is no cure for the disease, effective treatments are available that can control the pressure within the eye and prevent vision loss. A variety of different eye drops and oral medications are used to treat glaucoma in the early stages. Sometimes these drugs may stop working over time or they may cause unpleasant side effects. Your ophthalmologist can discuss other treatment options which can include Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty (SLT) which uses short pulses of energy to target the trabecular meshwork band to reduce intraocular pressure that can damage the optic nerve. Other more aggressive treatment options include trabeculectomy in which an implant is placed near the eye’s natural drainage network where it creates a new canal to drain the excess fluid from the eye. Our Board Certified ophthalmologists and therapeutic optometrists can discuss the treatment options that will best meet your individual needs.
Schedule a Glaucoma Consultation Today!
Call 951-696-1135 or click here to request an appointment.