Information on Glaucoma by Our North Richland Hills Optometrists
Glaucoma, one of the leading causes of blindness in the U.S., damages your vision over time without producing noticeable symptoms. In fact, vision loss due to primary open-angle glaucoma, the most commonly diagnosed type of glaucoma, is so gradual that most people won't notice how bad their vision has been affected until the disease reaches an advanced stage.
Who is at Risk for Glaucoma?
You may be at a higher risk for suffering glaucoma if you:
- Are African American
- Are a seniors (age 60+)
- Having a familial history of glaucoma
- Use steroids
- Have suffered from blunt traumas to the eyes
- Are nearsighted
- Have been diagnosed with hypertension
What Causes Glaucoma?
For reasons not yet fully understood, fluid starts accumulating in the eye, leading to increased intraocular pressure and damage to the optic nerve. This fluid is supposed to exit the eyes through a specialized drainage system located at the intersection of the cornea and iris. If this system fails to adequately drain this fluid, pressure builds, damages the optic nerve and starts deteriorating your vision.
Primary Open-Angle Glaucoma
POA glaucoma is the most common form of glaucoma. This form has only one symptom--gradual reduction of peripheral vision culminating in tunnel vision if progressing without treatment. The second most commonly diagnosed form of glaucoma is acute angle-closure glaucoma, which does present negligible symptoms such as, eye pain accompanied by nausea and vomiting, sudden visual disturbances and light halos.
Testing and Treatment for Glaucoma
Ophthalmologists perform several tests to diagnose glaucoma:
- Intraocular pressure measurement
- Optic nerve damage tests
- Visual field and visual acuity testing
- Pachymetry (measurement of corneal thickness)
While glaucoma can't be cured or reversed, it can be treated with eye drops and medications such as prostaglandins to increase fluid flow and reduce pressure or beta blockers that decrease production of eye fluid.
What are Cataracts?
Cataracts are clumps of protein that develop over the lens of the eye and cloud your vision. Lying behind the pupil and the iris, the lens is responsible for focusing light on the retina to produce images your brain "sees" and recognizes. The most common cause of cataract development is aging due to degradation of lens proteins, followed by smoking, diabetes, corticosteroid use and overexposure to UV radiation. Research has also discovered that cataracts may have a genetic component associated with chromosome abnormalities found in people with Down syndrome, cri-du-chat syndrome and other single-gene disorders.
Signs of Cataracts
- Dimming, blurred or cloudy vision
- Difficult seeing at night, especially while driving
- Increased sensitivity to light
- Seeing white or iridescent halos around single lights
- Colors appearing faded or yellowish
- Experiencing double vision in one eye
Surgery is the only treatment for cataracts and involves removing the eye's lens and replacing it with an artificial (intraocular) lens.
For more information about preventive eye care and treatment methods for glaucoma and cataracts, call Advantage Eyecare at 817-788-2020 to speak to one of our staff members.