Glaucoma is a very serious condition of the eye that, without treatment by an ophthalmologist, can cause permanent vision loss. It is characterized by damage to the optic nerve and is the leading cause of blindness in people over 60. In many cases, glaucoma causes no early symptoms until vision loss occurs. This is why it is known as “the silent thief of sight,” and also why annual appointments with Leroy Vaughn, MD - Eye Care for Diabetics Medical Group Inc. in Inglewood are essential.
The Two Types of Glaucoma
There are two types of glaucoma. The most common is open-angle glaucoma, and it occurs when the eye's drainage system drains slowly. Angle-closure is the other type, and it occurs when the eye's drainage system becomes completely clogged.
Risk Factors For Glaucoma
Although anyone can develop glaucoma, certain risk factors increase your chance of getting it. The risk factors include:
- Being over 60-years-old
- Having a family history of glaucoma
- Being extremely nearsighted or farsighted
- Previous eye injury
- Previous eye surgery
- Medical conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and sickle cell anemia
- Long term use of corticosteroid medications
- African-Americans, Hispanics, and Asians are more prone to this condition
Open-angle glaucoma shows no early symptoms. It isn't until permanent vision loss occurs that you start developing symptoms.
Angle-closure glaucoma causes a drastic increase in eye pressure; therefore, the symptoms are often severe. They include:
- Severe headaches
- Severe eye pain
- Nausea and vomiting
- Seeing halos around lights
- Blurry vision
- Redness of the eyes
Glaucoma can be diagnosed during your annual eye exam. During your exam, your optometrist will check the pressure in your eyes. If it is elevated, your optometrist will check the optic nerve for damage.
To check for areas of vision loss, your eye doctor will perform a visual field test. They will also measure your corneal thickness and the drainage angle. Finally, your optometrist will take photos of your optic nerve to track the progression of the disease.
In the early stages of the condition, your eye doctor will prescribe drops to control the pressure in your eyes. In the later stages, your eye doctor will suggest further treatment, including:
- Laser Trabeculoplasty: This is a common treatment for open-angle glaucoma. Your eye doctor will use a laser to open the clogged channels in the eye's drainage system.
- Trabeculectomy: This is a procedure where your eye doctor creates a small opening in the white of your eye and removes part of the meshwork. This will help the fluid to drain properly in patients with open-angle glaucoma.
- Laser peripheral iridotomy: This is a treatment option for angle-closure glaucoma. The doctor would use a laser to create an opening in your iris. This would allow the fluid to flow freely, thus relieving eye pressure.
Glaucoma Treatment in Inglewood
When it comes to your vision, don’t take any chances by delaying treatment. Schedule your eye exam with Leroy Vaughn, MD - Eye Care for Diabetics Medical Group. Our ophthalmologist in Inglewood will check the pressure in your eyes and perform further testing if necessary. To schedule an appointment, call us today at (310) 671-0909.