Although glaucoma tends to be a genetic disorder, it can happen to anyone. The disease is characterized by having too much pressure in the eye caused by fluid buildup. This clear fluid, known as aqueous humor, continuously flows through the inner eye. If your eye’s natural drainage system is not functioning properly, or excess fluid is produced, there is buildup that causes pressure in the inner eye. This can eventually damage the optic nerve, which is what allows us to see images clearly. You may begin to develop blind spots, often starting in your side (peripheral) vision. Since the vision loss from glaucoma is typically gradual, the disease often goes unnoticed until the optic nerve is significantly damaged.
There are two main types of glaucoma. Open angle glaucoma is the most common form and gradually develops over time. This results from an imbalance between the aqueous fluid and drainage system, causing fluid buildup and abnormal eye pressure. Acute angle closure glaucoma (also called narrow-angle glaucoma), is a less common form of glaucoma that occurs when the iris of the eye arches forward, creating a sudden blockage of the fluid drainage system. This type of glaucoma is characterized by sudden pain in the eye, often accompanied by blurry vision, nausea, and vomiting. Acute angle closure glaucoma requires immediate treatment. In addition to open angle and acute angle closure glaucoma, babies can be born with congenital glaucoma, which is when the drainage openings in their eye(s) develop a defect, preventing proper fluid drainage.
Routine screenings can help monitor your eye health and detect glaucoma in its earliest stages. During these visits, your eye doctor will check your eye pressure, and if it is higher than normal, they will perform further tests to determine if there have been changes in the optic nerve that may indicate glaucoma. By utilizing multiple ophthalmic tools, your doctor can provide an accurate glaucoma diagnosis by examining your eye pressure, side and central vision, and interior structures of your eye. If you are diagnosed with glaucoma, your eye doctor will closely monitor its progress during regularly scheduled visits. Detailed photographs of the optic nerve can show any changes that may indicate surgery is necessary.
Treatment for glaucoma is designed to lower your eye pressure, improve fluid drainage, or reduce fluid production. It is important to note that damage from the disease is irreversible,
but when caught early, you can typically avoid severe vision loss. The eye surgeons at Perich Eye Center offer the following forms of treatment to effectively control your glaucoma: Eye Drops and Laser Therapy