Glaucoma consists of a group of eye diseases that can gradually steal sight without warning. Although it can occur in any age group, glaucoma is more frequently encountered in those who are over 65 years of age, those with a family history of glaucoma and those of African-American descent. Certain medications, such as corticosteroids and chronic diseases such as diabetes can predispose a person to glaucoma.
Vision loss from glaucoma is caused by damage to the optic nerve. This nerve acts like an electric cable, carrying images from the eye to the brain. In the early stages of the disease, there are often no symptoms. The damage that occurs is painless, gradual and progressive if treatment is not initiated.
A person may be considered a candidate to develop glaucoma on the basis of high intraocular pressure, an unusual appearance of the optic disc or visual field, a family history of glaucoma, or narrow angles between the iris and cornea. A patient with any of these factors is followed very closely to monitor any changes that might occur to the optic nerve, visual field or pressure in the eye.
While there is currently no cure for glaucoma, there are several successful treatment options. Proper control can typically be obtained by using medication in the form of eye drops or by having laser surgery. Sometimes a combination of surgery and medication is necessary in managing this condition.
Our doctors routinely screen all patients for glaucoma and have the advanced technology available in our office to investigate every suspicious finding or observation that is uncovered during a routine examination. You will receieve the highest quality of care obtainable when you choose Optometric Care!
To learn more about glaucoma, visit www.nei.nih.gov/health/glaucoma.