What’s Glaucoma? Signs, Symptoms & Available Treatments
Glaucoma is a degenerative eye disease that can completely steal your vision from you.
We tend to have heard this word before, but we do really know what Glaucoma is? In this blog post, we will discuss what’s Glaucoma, the warning signs, Glaucoma symptoms and Glaucoma treatment.
Glaucoma is the second most common cause of vision loss in seniors in Canada. According to CNIB, more than 250,000 Canadians have chronic open-angle glaucoma, which is the most common form of the disease.
Signs of Glaucoma
Glaucoma occurs when there is damage to the optic nerve. This happens when there is an excessive amount of pressure within the eye due to a buildup of excess fluid.
High eye pressure isn’t always a sign of glaucoma, but it may be an indication that you are at risk of developing it.
People who do not have high eye pressure are also at risk of developing glaucoma.
Types of Glaucoma
We mentioned above that open-angle glaucoma is the most common form of the disease. But, what does that mean?
Open-angle glaucoma makes up 90% of all the cases in Canada.
When you’re diagnosed with open-angle, you’re able to continue performing all the normal daily activities like driving and reading. Vision loss is not noticeable until it’s too late and permanent damage has already happened.
With this type of glaucoma, the normal drainage outflow mechanism in the eye is blocked. This causes increased fluid pressure in the eye.
Normal tension glaucoma is another type of open-angle glaucoma where the optic nerve will be damaged even though the pressure inside the eye is not elevated.
Primary acute closed-angle glaucoma happens when a buildup of fluid in the eye between the iris and the drainage system has been closed. This stops the fluid from draining from the eye.
This type of glaucoma comes very suddenly and is an emergency as it often causes pain. Severe vision loss can occur if treatment is not sought right away.
Chronic angle-closure glaucoma involves a narrowing of space between the iris and the drainage system, but it occurs much more gradually. It can take anywhere from weeks to even years to show itself.
Secondary glaucoma can happen due to a number of other eye injuries, inflammation, surgery, diabetes and use of medications.
Primary open-angle glaucoma and chronic angle closure glaucoma have no symptoms other than eventual vision loss. In the beginning, there will be no vision loss or pain. Someone may not appear that they have glaucoma for a long time. They won’t be able to tell that they are slowly losing their vision.
Acute closed-angle glaucoma occurs suddenly and the person can experience eye pain, blurred vision, nausea, redness in the eye and halos around a light.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, call Orchard Park Optometry today.
If you have primary open-angle glaucoma, it can be treated. Treatment is for lowering the pressure within the eye and can be achieved through eye drops, laser treatment or surgery.
The first line treatment for glaucoma is with the use of prescription eye drops to lower the pressure. All of our doctors at Orchard Park Optometry are trained to diagnose and treat glaucoma with the use of eye drops. Fortunately, most of our glaucoma patients simply have to put one prescription eye drop in per day to lower the pressure and treat the disease effectively.
Laser Treatment/Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty SLT is a special type of laser that’s used to create very small holes within the trabecular meshwork of the eye. This increases drainage of the eye’s fluid and results in lower eye pressure.
There are two different types of surgery you can have for primary open-angle glaucoma. The first is conventional surgery. This creates a channel for the fluid to flow out of the eye. Each eye is treated at separate surgical visits and up to 80% of these surgeries are effective.
The second surgery is Minimally Invasive Glaucoma Surgery (MIGS). This surgery involves the insertion of an extremely tiny tube within the eye. It facilitates drainage of fluid and is usually recommended for people who suffer from mild to moderate glaucoma.
For more information on Glaucoma, contact Orchard Park Optometry. We are open seven days a week and will treat you with the highest level of eye care available. To set up an appointment, contact us through our website or call us at 1-250-762-2090.