Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases that cause damage to the optic nerve. If not detected early on and swiftly corrected, it can eventually cause blindness. In fact, glaucoma is the leading cause of irreversible blindness in the world.
How the eye works
The eye works much the same way as a camera lens focuses light to create an image on film. Light enters the eye from outside to the cornea, the cornea focuses the light to create an image on the retina and the retina sends this information through the optic nerve to the brain.
In glaucoma, the fluids of the eye do not drain and flow properly causing pressure build-up. This pressure damages the delicate fibers of the optic nerve and over time, when enough fibers are damaged, blind spots develop in your field of vision. This damage is permanent and at worst case, causes blindness.
There are many types of glaucoma, the two most common are:
“Open-angle” means the angle where the iris meets the cornea is as wide and open as it should be. This condition gradually reduces your peripheral vision without other symptoms. By the time you notice it, the permanent damage has already occurred.
This is the most common type of glaucoma, affecting 3 million Americans. It develops slowly and is a lifelong condition.
Unlike open-angle glaucoma, angle-closure glaucoma is a result of the angle between the iris and cornea closing. This develops very quickly and demands immediate medical attention. It produces acute symptoms such as eye pain, headaches, halos around lights, dilated pupils, vision loss, red eyes, nausea and vomiting. Each attack can last a few hours then return again later, or it may be continuous without relief. Each attack leaves progressive eye damage.
What can be done about it
While there is no cure for glaucoma, Dr. Christian can offer treatment in many ways. Your specific condition will determine the treatment or combination of treatments used to ease the symptoms and prevent your eyes from worsening. Some include:
- Eye drops – as prescribed by Dr. Christian
- Oral medication – as prescribed by Dr. Christian
- Laser surgery
- Traditional surgery