Often called the silent thief of sight, glaucoma is an eye condition that typically begins with little to no visual symptoms. In fact, it is estimated that more than 2 million Americans have some form of glaucoma but 50 percent of them are not aware that they have the condition. Although the eye condition cannot be fully cured, it can be managed.
The board certified ophthalmologists at Visual Health have years of collective experience diagnosing and treating glaucoma, helping thousands of patients prolong their vision. If you believe you have glaucoma, schedule a consultation with Visual Health and continue reading to learn about the types of glaucoma, symptoms and treatment options.
Open-Angle Versus Narrow-Angle Glaucoma
Glaucoma occurs when the fluid inside the eye does not properly drain from the eye’s drainage channel or drainage angle, causing pressure to build inside the eye. Extremely high pressure can push against the eye’s optic nerve, permanently damaging nerve fibers and causing vision loss.
There are two types of glaucoma. Open-angle glaucoma, the most common type of the eye condition, occurs when the drainage channel has been damaged, leading to fluid accumulation and pressure buildup in the eye. Open-angle glaucoma occurs gradually and painlessly. A person with open-angle glaucoma may experience gradual peripheral vision loss. By the time they notice the vision loss, permanent, irreversible damage has occurred. Anyone can develop open-angle glaucoma. Individuals with an increased risk of developing the condition include African Americans, those with a family history of glaucoma, diabetics and individuals who are extremely nearsighted.
Narrow-angle (also known as closed-angle) glaucoma is very rare and occurs when the drainage channel becomes obstructed. Unlike open-angle glaucoma, narrow-angle glaucoma produces sudden, painful symptoms such as pain, headaches, halos around lights, vision loss, nausea and vomiting. If you experience any of these symptoms, you are advised to seek medical attention immediately. If left untreated, blindness can occur. Individuals who have had an eye injury, eye tumor or other eye conditions are at risk of developing narrow-angle glaucoma.
Treatment for glaucoma depends on the severity of the eye condition. The most appropriate treatment option for you will be determined following a thorough eye exam and an evaluation of your symptoms. Visual Health offers the following treatment options:
If the glaucoma is in its early stages, eye drops and/or oral medication may be prescribed. These medications work to lower fluid pressure in the eye, minimizing the effects of the glaucoma. The amount of medication needed will depend on what is needed to control the glaucoma.
For advanced stages of glaucoma, surgery may be necessary. Surgery may be done in conjunction with medication, depending on the severity of the symptoms. The goal of surgery is to increase drainage. Visual Health offers laser glaucoma surgery, which involves using a state-of-the-art laser to target drainage tissue and thus improve drainage and lower fluid pressure. We also offer filter drain surgery, which aims to lower pressure in the eye when drops prove ineffective.
Schedule a Consultation with Visual Health
At Visual Health, our team of board certified ophthalmologists are trained and skilled in diagnosing and treating glaucoma. To learn more about glaucoma symptoms and treatment options, please call our Palm Springs or Jupiter office at 1-800-771-3937.