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Our Manchester Optometrist Answers Common Glaucoma FAQs
A potentially serious eye disease more commonly diagnosed in people over 40 or those with chronic medical conditions. glaucoma can damage the optic nerve severely enough to prevent this nerve from sending visual signals to the brain. Unless glaucoma is diagnosed in its earliest stages and treated with prescription eye drops or surgery, it may cause permanent loss of vision in various degrees. Your eye doctor strongly urges everyone over 35 to have their eyes tested for glaucoma during their annual eye exam.
What are the signs/symptoms of glaucoma?
People with glaucoma do not notice vision problems until the disease has advanced to moderate or late stage glaucoma. One of the first signs of glaucoma involves impairment of your peripheral vision. Objects to your left or right side may seem blurry or distorted. You may not even see certain objects at your periphery if the disease has affected your optic nerve. As your periphery vision worsens, it may seem like you are looking through a tunnel. Eventually, central vision decreases as well.
What are the types of glaucoma?
Open Angle Glaucoma
If you have glaucoma and lose your peripheral vision over time without losing visual acuity, your optometrist in Manchester will diagnose you with open angle glaucoma. With open angle glaucoma, your eye (s) suffer from increased pressure due to excessive fluid remaining in the eye. Usually, high intraocular pressure associated with open angle glaucoma is attributed to blocked canals supposed to remain open to drain fluid out of the eye. People with open angle glaucoma will not have symptoms until the optic nerve experiences enough deterioration to interfere with sending visual signals to the brain.
Angle Closure Glaucoma
This type of glaucoma is less commonly diagnosed and will cause symptoms such as:
- Hazy, dim or blurry vision
- Rainbow-colored/bright light spots in your field of vision
- Severe eye pain/head pain (sometimes accompanied by nausea)
- Sudden partial or complete loss of vision
Angle closure glaucoma symptoms occur when canal ducts in the eye suddenly and unexpectedly stop allowing fluid to drain out of the eye. The rapid increase in intraocular pressure necessitates emergency attention by your eye doctor.
How is glaucoma diagnosed?
Visual acuity/visual field, measurement of intraocular pressure using a tonometer and pachymetry testing to determine corneal thickness are common glaucoma tests performed by your optometrist in Manchester. If your eye doctor diagnoses you with glaucoma, he may also want to do an optic nerve damage test to determine how well your optic nerve is functioning.
Can glaucoma be prevented?
Although glaucoma cannot be prevented, you can reduce your risk of glaucoma by maintaining a healthy lifestyle, watching your blood pressure and getting regular eye exams. You may be at an increased risk for developing glaucoma if you are over 65 years old, have hypertension, are nearsighted and take corticosteroids for a medical condition. Glaucoma is suspected of having a genetic component as well.
What is glaucoma treatment?
To help reduce intraocular pressure, your eye doctor will prescribe prostaglandin or beta blocker eye drops. Occasionally, these medications may produce unwanted side effects is some people, such as eye irritation, low blood pressure, and fatigue. If this happens, you may want to consider laser surgery to modify your eyes' drainage system. If surgery is successful, you may not need to use glaucoma eye drops, as long as eye ducts remain open and functioning properly.
Schedule an Appointment
To schedule an eye exam and glaucoma testing, please call Prudhomme Vision today at 860-644-3364.