Glaucoma is often called “the silent thief of sight” because symptoms don’t appear straight away. Instead, they develop slowly over many years. By the time you realize there’s a change in your eyesight, the eye condition has already caused permanent damage. You can have glaucoma for years and not even know it.
This is one reason why regular eye health exams and early detection of eye conditions, such as glaucoma, is crucial. Vision loss from glaucoma can’t be reversed, but with treatment, further vision loss can be prevented.
Keep reading to learn more about glaucoma and how to prevent vision loss!
What is Glaucoma?
Glaucoma is a group of eye conditions typically caused by increased pressure in the eye from fluid not draining properly. This causes damage to the optic nerve. The optic nerve carries visual information from the retina to the brain, which enables you to see.
Glaucoma is not always caused by high intraocular pressure. Some people still develop this sight-threatening condition, even with normal eye pressure.
Can Anyone Get Glaucoma?
Glaucoma can affect anyone. However, some people are at a higher risk. The risk factors for glaucoma include:
- Being age sixty and older
- Past eye injury
- High intraocular pressure
- Family history of glaucoma
- Those that are African Americans and people of African descent
- Those that have high myopia (nearsightedness)
- Thin corneas
- Certain medical conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, sickle cell anemia, and migraines
Your eye doctor will suggest the frequency of your eye exams if you’re at an increased risk for glaucoma.
Is Vision Loss from Glaucoma Permanent?
Glaucoma permanently damages the optic nerve. Without treatment, the progressive condition can eventually completely destroy your eyesight.
Any vision lost to glaucoma is irreversible. It can’t be restored or regained.
What Glaucoma Treatment Methods Are Available?
Although glaucoma doesn’t have a cure, it can be effectively treated, particularly when caught early. That is why regular eye examinations are so important.
There are various treatment options available for glaucoma. These treatments all share a common goal: to reduce high eye pressure and prevent further damage to the optic nerve.
Your eye doctor may recommend the following treatment options to help slow glaucoma progression and preserve your remaining vision:
Eye drops are usually the first line of glaucoma treatment. Some types work by decreasing fluid production.
Others increase fluid drainage. Your eye doctor may prescribe more than one type of eye drop.
Eye drops alone might not always succeed in reducing your eye pressure. So your eye doctor may combine eye drops with oral medications.
You may need laser treatment if your eye pressure doesn’t improve despite using drops and oral medications. There are different laser surgical options that reduce your eye pressure by:
- Removing blockages in your eye’s drainage channels
- Creating an alternative channel
- Reducing fluid production
Minimally invasive glaucoma surgeries, or MIGS, are a recent surgical innovation. They use implantable, microscopic-sized shunts and stents to increase fluid drainage.
There are several MIGS techniques used, and your eye doctor will discuss the best procedure for you.
Avoid Total Vision Loss from Glaucoma
You can protect your vision from glaucoma by frequent exams at VisionPoint Eye Center. Comprehensive eye examinations can help detect glaucoma early when treatment is most effective.
Have you had a routine eye exam recently? Schedule an appointment at VisionPoint Eye Center in Champaign, IL, today!