Glaucoma

  • What is glaucoma?
    Glaucoma is an eye disease that may cause loss of vision. It occurs as a result of a buildup of fluid in the eyeball. The fluid nourishes your eye and keeps it healthy. After the fluid circulates, it empties through a drain in the front of your eye. In people with glaucoma, the drain in the eye is blocked and the fluid can’t run out of the eyeball. Instead, the fluid builds up and causes increased pressure in the eye.
  • How does increased pressure damage your eye?
    The increased pressure destroys the nerve cells in the eye, which leads to vision loss. At first, you may have blind spots only in your peripheral, or side, vision. If your glaucoma isn’t treated, your central vision will also be affected. Vision loss caused by glaucoma is permanent. It can only be prevented. It cannot be reversed.
  • What are the symptoms of glaucoma?
    Most people who have glaucoma don’t have any symptoms. You might not realize that you’re losing vision until it’s too late. Half of all people with loss of vision caused by glaucoma are not aware they have the disease. By the time they notice loss of vision, the eye damage is severe.Rarely, an individual will have an acute (sudden or short-term) attack of glaucoma. In these cases, the eye becomes red and extremely painful. Nausea, vomiting and blurred vision may also occur.
  • Who gets glaucoma?
    Risk factors for glaucoma include older age, family history of glaucoma, high pressure in the eyes, diabetes, hypertension and near-sightedness.
  • How do I know if I have glaucoma?
    You won’t know you have glaucoma until you notice vision loss. Since glaucoma causes no symptoms other than vision loss, it is important that you have a complete eye exam by an Eye Specialist regularly. The Eye Specialist can measure your eye pressure, examine your optic nerve and evaluate your central and peripheral vision. Early diagnosis and treatment of glaucoma can prevent damage to the eye’s nerve cells and prevent vision loss.
  • How often should I have an eye exam?
    It is generally recommended that you have a complete eye exam including measurement of the eye pressure at least once a year, especially if you are more than 35 years old. People with a family history of glaucoma should have a yearly screening earlier.
  • What is the treatment for glaucoma?
    Glaucoma can be treated with eyedrops, pills, laser surgery, eye surgery or a combination of these methods. The purpose of treatment is to lower the pressure in the eye so that further nerve damage and vision loss are prevented.

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