Taking care of our eyes is important in order to enjoy clear, crisp vision for the rest of our lives. If you begin to notice changes in your eyesight or pain or discomfort of your eyes, be sure to see an eye care specialist in order to properly diagnose the issue. A common eye condition that affects those later in life is glaucoma, which must be treated as soon as possible. Our team is highly skilled in observing the signs and symptoms of this condition for a quick diagnosis and effective treatment options.
Glaucoma is a collection of eye conditions that damage the optic nerve, which is needed for clear vision. This damage is usually caused by unusually high pressure in the eye. While this condition can occur at any age, it is more common in older adults. It is important to have your glaucoma treated before it is symptomatic because the early diagnosis is asymptomatic, and once damaged has occurred to the optic nerve it can never be reversed.
The array of signs and symptoms of glaucoma can vary depending on the stage and type of the condition. These may include:
- No symptoms at all
- Patchy blind spots in your peripheral or central vision.
- Tunnel vision.
- Eye pain.
- Severe headache.
- Nausea and vomiting.
- Blurry vision.
- Eye redness.
- Halos in your vision when around lights.
Damage to the optic nerve is the cause of glaucoma. As the optic nerve breaks down over time, blind spots will develop in your field of vision. This nerve damage is usually related to increased pressure in the eye due to a buildup of fluid that flows throughout the inside of the eye. Normally, this internal fluid will drain out through a tissue where the cornea and iris meet. However, when too much fluid is produced or the drainage system does not properly work, this fluid cannot flow out, and eye pressure increases.
In order to properly diagnose glaucoma, your eye care specialist will review your medical history and conduct a number of eye exams and tests, including measuring intraocular pressure, measuring corneal thickness, checking for areas of vision loss, testing for optic nerve damage, and more. While the damage caused by glaucoma cannot be reversed, regular treatment can help to slow or prevent vision loss in the future. Common treatment options include:
Eyedrops: Prescription eyedrops are often the first treatment option for glaucoma. These drops can aid in decreasing eye pressure by improving how fluid drains from your eye or decreasing the amount of fluid the eye produces. There are a large variety of eyedrop types that may be used, including prostaglandins, beta blockers, alpha-adrenergic agonists, carbonic anhydrase inhibitors, rho kinase inhibitor, or miotic or cholinergic agents.
Oral Medications: If eyedrops do not prove effective, an oral medication, such as a carbonic anhydrase inhibitor, may be prescribed.
Surgery and Other Therapies: There are also other treatment options for glaucoma, including laser therapy filtering surgery, drainage tubes to drain away excess eye fluid, and minimally invasive glaucoma surgery. Your doctor will speak with you to decide if any of these treatment options are right for you.
Individuals with any of the signs or symptoms of glaucoma should see an eye doctor immediately for diagnosis and treatment, as glaucoma is one of the leading causes of blindness for those over the age of 60. Because vision loss due to this condition cannot be recovered, you should have regular eye examinations that include measurements of your eye pressure so that glaucoma can be caught early. Once you are diagnosed with glaucoma, you will usually need treatment for the rest of your life. If you are concerned regarding your symptoms, be sure to contact our office today to schedule an appointment with one of our doctors.
To learn more about the signs and symptoms of glaucoma or to schedule an appointment at Eye Care Physicians of New Jersey, contact our office today!