Glaucoma is an eye disease in which damage to the optic nerve leads to progressive, irreversible vision loss. Eye doctors once believed it was simply a pressure problem in the eyes. It is now known to be a complex condition.
There isn’t one specific level of eye pressure that leads to vision disturbances. Your eye doctor can measure the pressure in your eye and evaluate your risk. The “puff of air” test used to be a common (and disliked) part of getting an eye exam, but better methods now exist that are more comfortable. Some of the tests are so slight, you won’t feel them at all.
Many factors cause glaucoma. Only an optometrist or ophthalmologist can diagnose glaucoma. A comprehensive eye exam can provide the proper information for diagnosis. Because people rarely experience symptoms, those with increased risk factors are especially encouraged to see an eye doctor regularly for evaluation.
People of all ages are at risk for developing glaucoma, so talk to your eye care professional about screening for the condition. Talk to Dr. Duong if you have concerns. Watch the video to learn more!
Glaucoma is a complicated disease in which damage to the optic nerve leads to progressive, irreversible vision loss. It is the second leading cause of blindness.
The most common form of glaucoma occurs when the ocular drainage canals become clogged over time. The inner eye pressure (also called intraocular pressure or IOP) rises when the correct amount of fluid can’t drain out of the eye. With the most common form of glaucoma, the entrances to the drainage canals are clear, and should be working correctly. However, the clogging problem occurs farther inside the drainage canals. This is like a clogged pipe below the drain of a sink.
Glaucoma Symptoms & Risk
Most people will not experience symptoms, nor will they have any early warning signs. Open-angle glaucoma can cause a gradual loss of vision if is not diagnosed and treated. The disease develops slowly and sometimes without visible sight loss for many years. It usually responds well to medication, especially if caught early and treated.
While anyone at any age can develop glaucoma, these conditions pose a higher risk:
- a family history of glaucoma
- individuals over 40 years of age
- individuals of African or Mediterranean descent
- people who’ve experienced an eye injury or trauma
People with glaucoma rarely experience symptoms, but their vision becomes less clear. Routine eye examinations are recommended to identify symptoms. Your eye doctor can detect elevated pressure within the eye, which can cause damage to the optic nerve that carries images to the brain.
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