Glaucoma is a leading cause of blindness around the world, and has been nicknamed the “sneak thief of sight” due to its ability to cause vision loss without warning. Thankfully, during annual eye exams, we can catch even the smallest warning signs to detect glaucoma early and start managing it right away.
At Elite Vision Care, we’re equipped with the latest technology for glaucoma detection, and our expert eye doctors have years of experience in managing its progression. We’ll create a personalized glaucoma treatment plan for you that will allow you to protect your vision — and quality of life.
What is Glaucoma?
Glaucoma is a group of eye conditions where there is a buildup of pressure in the eye, known as intraocular pressure (IOP). This can harm your optic nerve, which is vital to your eyesight, and cause irreversible vision loss.
Glaucoma is the primary cause of blindness in people over the age of 60, largely because it’s often difficult to detect yourself until real vision loss has occurred. However, the testing in annual eye exams can detect small warning signs like IOP fluctuations before glaucoma impacts your life.
Types of Glaucoma
There are two types of glaucoma that are significantly more common than any others.
- Open Angle Glaucoma: Over 90% of glaucoma cases are open angle. The eye’s drainage paths become slightly clogged, causing fluid and IOP to build slowly over time.
- Angle Closure Glaucoma: During angle closure, the eye’s drainage paths become fully blocked very suddenly, and rapid vision loss can occur. This requires immediate medical help.
How to Recognize Symptoms of Glaucoma
In all cases, we want to catch glaucoma before symptoms become apparent. Some of the only warning signs for open angle glaucoma are the start of vision loss, like minor blind spots and “tunnel vision”.
But with angle closure glaucoma, symptoms come on more quickly. These include:
- Blurry vision
- Distorted vision (waves, halos around light sources)
- Headaches, eye pain, nausea
- Sudden vision loss or changes in vision quality
Annual eye exams can catch the early indicators of open angle glaucoma, and even evaluate the risk for angle closure glaucoma developing. It is unlikely or impossible for you to catch these signs on your own.
Causes & Risk Factors
Glaucoma doesn’t have one single cause, but there is a fairly extensive list of risk factors, including:
- Age: People over the age of 40
- Race: Hispanic, African American, and Asian people
- Hormonal Changes: Menopausal and pregnant people
- Previous Eye Conditions: Cataracts, uveitis
- Other Medical Issues: Heart conditions, diabetes, high blood pressure
- Family history of glaucoma
Knowing your risk is a key part of staying ahead of glaucoma. If any of these risk factors apply to you, please bring this up with your eye doctor
Treatment Options from Glaucoma Specialists
Glaucoma can be a stressful diagnosis, and we want you to know you can trust our eye doctors to provide tailored care. At Elite Vision Care, we utilize top-of-the-line technology to identify warning signs before glaucoma causes any problems, including an Optos optomap for retinal imaging and a visual field analyzer to determine if there’s been any vision loss.
When we catch glaucoma as early as humanly possible, we can provide a personalized treatment plan just as quickly. And as part of our commitment to a full concierge service, we work closely with local glaucoma specialists who can provide more advanced care for those who need it.
There are medications that can alleviate pressure in your eyes and allow for better fluid draining to reduce IOP. These may include beta blockers, carbonic anhydrase inhibitors, or alpha agonists. Before prescribing any medications, we’ll get a clear picture of your overall health.
We may also recommend dietary supplements for your ocular health that can help stall the progression of glaucoma, particularly if you begin them early as a preventative measure.
There are several surgeries available for glaucoma, which can manually improve fluid drainage from your eye or prevent fluid overproduction. At Elite Vision Care, we triage with local glaucoma specialists and fully inform them of everything they’ll need to know about you and your case. Our pre- and post-operative care will then help you secure the best possible results and a smooth recovery.