An estimated three million Americans suffer from glaucoma in any given year. Fluid build-up inside the eye most characterizes this condition. This can make symptoms difficult to spot during the early stages.
Over time, glaucoma damages the optic nerve, which accounts for why it’s the second leading cause of blindness after cataracts. Read on as a Fort Worth, TX optometrist discusses what causes glaucoma, symptoms to watch for, and why early detection and treatment are critical to preventing vision loss.
What Is Glaucoma?
The condition, glaucoma encompasses a group of eye diseases that cause damage to the optic nerve. In the majority of cases, fluid build-up in the front part of the eye is the main cause. As fluid builds up, it puts pressure on the eye, which gradually damages the optic nerve.
Damage to the optic nerve is always serious since it plays a critical role in vision. This structure transmits electrical signals from the retina to the brain. From there, your brain uses these signals to create images. Not surprisingly, glaucoma is the most common form of optic nerve damage that leads to vision loss.
For these reasons, it’s imperative to seek treatment as soon as glaucoma symptoms start to appear.
Symptoms of Glaucoma
Symptoms of glaucoma tend to come on gradually as fluid builds up in the eye, so they can be easy to miss. Some people have no noticeable symptoms during the early stages. Glaucoma damage is irreversible. This means early detection and treatment can help prevent vision loss and blindness, and the way to do this is by getting regular eye exams.
Here are a few of the most common symptoms of glaucoma to watch for:
- Rainbow-colored halos around lights
- Red eyes
- Blurred vision
- Eye pain or pressure
- Blind spots
- Tunnel vision
- Nausea and vomiting
Who’s Most at Risk of Getting Glaucoma?
- People over the age of 60
- People with a family history of glaucoma
- People of African-American, Latino, Asian, and Inuit descent
- People who’ve previously had an eye injury or eye surgery
- People with diabetes
- Long-term corticosteroid use
- High blood pressure
- People who are nearsighted or farsighted
Glaucoma Treatment Options
Glaucoma treatment helps slow the progression of the disease. Treatment type can vary depending on the severity of your condition.
Here are some of the most commonly used treatments for glaucoma:
- Medication – this entails the use of prescription eye drops to help reduce fluid build-up and increase fluid drainage
- Laser treatment – this approach uses a strong beam of light to increase fluid drainage
- Eye surgery – surgery offers the fastest way to relieve eye pressure, but it’s more invasive so there are risks involved
If you have more questions or wish to schedule an eye examination, feel free to call our Fort Worth, TX optometry office today.