Our Kissimmee Eye Doctor Explains Glaucoma
Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of blindness in the U.S., affecting about 3 million people. And while the disease is most common among older men and women, glaucoma can also occur in children - even infants. Unfortunately, there’s no cure for glaucoma, but vision loss can be prevented by having routine eye exams and being screened for the disease so treatment can begin as early in the disease process as possible. Our eye doctor in Kissimmee explains what you should know.
What Causes Glaucoma?
Glaucoma destroys vision by damaging the optic nerve that carries visual information to the brain where it can be interpreted. Most cases of glaucoma occur when the pressure inside the eye (called the intraocular pressure or IOP) becomes elevated beyond normal levels. This increased pressure damages the delicate nerve endings, preventing information from being sent to the brain. Some types of glaucoma can occur even when IOP is not elevated.
There are two main types of glaucoma - primary open-angle glaucoma and narrow-angle glaucoma (sometimes called acute-angle glaucoma). “Angle” refers to the opening inside the eye that allows fluid to drain and replenish itself normally. When the angle becomes blocked, normal fluid drainage is prevented and IOP can become elevated. Within these two main types of glaucoma, there are several subtypes. While some types can cause eye pain as a result of elevated pressure, the most common types cause no symptoms prior to vision loss. Normal-tension glaucoma causes vision loss even when IOP is not raised beyond normal levels.
How Can I tell if I Have Glaucoma?
The most common type of glaucoma, open-angle glaucoma, causes no noticeable symptoms in its earliest stages, which means many people have the disease and don’t know it - and won’t know it until they’ve already lost some of their vision. This lack of symptoms has earned the disease the nickname of “the silent thief of sight.” Acute-angle glaucoma can cause pain, headaches, blurry vision and nausea. This type of glaucoma, however, is far less common than open-angle glaucoma. Having routine comprehensive eye exams is the best way to spot glaucoma in its earliest stages so vision loss can be prevented.
How is Glaucoma Treated?
Glaucoma can sometimes be treated with medication to help lower IOP to normal levels or it may require a surgical procedure, often performed with lasers, to improve drainage inside the eye. The specific approach will be determined by the type of glaucoma that’s present, how far the disease has progressed and other factors.
Schedule an Eye Exam with your Eye Doctor in Kissimmee Today
Eye Care Specialists of Florida is a top-ranked eye doctor in Kissimmee, FL, offering comprehensive vision care for patients of all ages. Routine eye exams are the best way to diagnose glaucoma and other serious eye diseases in their earliest stages so each patient can receive the most appropriate care to prevent vision loss and other consequences. Scheduling an exam is easy. Call our office today at (407) 483-0328 and take that first important step toward better vision and better eye health.