Few prospects are more frightening to many people than permanent vision loss — and if you feel the same way, you have good reason to be concerned about glaucoma. Glaucoma is second only to cataracts as a cause of blindness around the world, and some 3.3 million people in the U.S. are expected to suffer from this progressive eye disease by the year 2020. Since the optic nerve damage of glaucoma cannot be reversed, early diagnosis and treatment are critical if you want to protect your eyesight. The good news is that glaucoma can be controlled successfully by our optometrist at Powers Eye Center, Dr. Neil McAllister.
What You Should Know About Glaucoma
The term “glaucoma” can be applied to any specific condition that causes the optic nerve tissue to die off, depriving the eye of its ability to relay visual signals to the brain. It’s most commonly (but not always) associated with the buildup of fluid pressure in the eye, a condition called ocular hypertension. This fluid, known as the aqueous humor, is a substance the eye constantly produces as a normal function; the excess fluid drains out through a drainage mesh located at the angle where the iris meets the white of the eye. Any problem that interferes with the drainage system, from congenital abnormalities to an eye injury, can cause the fluid pressure to rise above normal. As it does, its puts pressure on the delicate optic nerve fibers, destroying them.
Most glaucoma sufferers have a form of the disease known as open-angle glaucoma. This means that the drainage angle is still able to function, but only sluggishly. African-Americans over 40, everyone over 60, diabetics, and people with a family history of open-angle glaucoma are at elevated risk for this problem. Since open-angle-glaucoma develops very slowly, you may suffer years of damage before you begin to notice loss of peripheral vision (and later, central vision). A smaller percentage of patients have a much more acute problem called angle-closer glaucoma, in which the drainage mesh shuts off completely. This can create a sudden crisis, causing everything from immediate vision loss to pain and nausea.
Early Detection and Treatment Measures
Glaucoma can be controlled, preventing further damage to the eye — but it needs to be detected as early as possible. Annual comprehensive eye exams allow us to evaluate your vision, examine the optic nerves, and use tonometry to check your eye pressure. Powers Eye Center has OCT scanning technology to directly measure the retinal nerve layers inside your eyes for accurate diagnosis and assessment. Topical medication, sometimes supplemented with oral drugs, can reduce the amount of fluid your eye produces and/or help the drainage mesh expel more fluid. We can also recommend other helpful strategies such as getting treatment for underlying health conditions. If you have a more stubborn or advanced case of glaucoma, we may refer you for an easy outpatient surgery to alter your drainage system so it will function more efficiently.
Protect Your Eyes From Glaucoma — Call Our Colorado Springs Clinic
Vigilance is the key to catching and controlling glaucoma, so take action today. Call our Colorado Springs optometry clinic at (719) 598-5068 to schedule a comprehensive eye exam!
6160 Tutt Blvd #220
Colorado Springs, CO 80923