Glaucoma is high pressure in the eye, which is high enough to cause damage to the optic nerve. This nerve damage translates into decreased peripheral vision and eventually loss of sight if not controlled. Every year, over three million people are affected by Glaucoma in this country and, of that number, over 100,000 become blind. Even those who do not become blind from this disease can have their vision severely impaired.
Open-Angle Glaucoma (Chronic)
There are two kinds of glaucoma, open-angle (chronic) and closed-angle (acute). The “angle” is the area where the iris (blue or brown part) meets the white (sclera) part of the eye. This is where the drainage channels are for fluid to leave the eye. Open-angle glaucoma is often called the sneak thief of sight because people have no warning signs that anything is wrong. About half of the people in this country with this type of glaucoma do not know they have it. Glaucoma gradually reduces your peripheral vision, but by the time you notice it, permanent damage has already been done. Open-angle glaucoma normally develops after age 35, which is why regular, comprehensive eye exams by an Ophthalmologist (M.D.) are so critical to continued eye health. The good news is that simple tests can be done to determine whether you have glaucoma, your risk factors for it and, if you do have glaucoma, what kind of treatment options are available to you. At the Ventura Eye Institute we have ways to control glaucoma through medication, laser treatment, and occasionally surgery if necessary.
Angle-Closure (Acute) Glaucoma
Angle-closure glaucoma, on the other hand, can produce sudden symptoms such as eye pain, headaches, haloes around lights, dilated pupils, vision loss, even nausea and vomiting. These attacks may last a short time, but each attack does permanent damage to your field of vision. If you or a loved one has experienced these symptoms, you need to see an Ophthalmologist (M.D.) like Dr. Ragen for help immediately.
While there are a variety of factors that can contribute to glaucoma, your best defense is regular, comprehensive eye exams. If you have not had your eyes checked or if you’re dealing with the effects of glaucoma, contact us to learn more about treatment options and prevention.