Glaucoma is a series of eye conditions that affect your optic nerve. It’s caused by high pressure inside the eye, and it’s a leading cause of blindness for people over 60. Surprisingly, the symptoms of glaucoma can be mild at first, and you may not realize anything is wrong until damage has taken place. This is why yearly screenings for glaucoma are so important, especially as you age. Your eye doctor in Elkridge, MD, can diagnose and treat glaucoma.
How Do I Know If I Have Glaucoma?
Open-angle glaucoma is the more common type of this eye disorder. If you have it, you may begin to notice gradual changes, such as:
- Blind spots in your peripheral, or side, vision
- Patchy spots in your central vision
- Tunnel vision
If you’ve begun to experience one or more of these vision changes, it’s vital to schedule a routine eye exam that includes a screening for glaucoma.
This is especially true for those over the age of 60 and for those with a history of high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, or sickle cell anemia. The damage caused by glaucoma can’t be reversed. However, your trained eye professional can prevent additional vision loss by beginning treatment right away.
What Are the Different Types of Glaucoma?
Along with open-angle glaucoma, there is also angle closure and normal-tension glaucoma. Angle-closure glaucoma may develop gradually over time, or it may be acute — happening all at once. This disorder occurs when the iris of the eye bulges forward and blocks normal drainage. As a result, too much fluid builds up within the delicate tissue and causes damage.
Often, this type of glaucoma requires immediate, emergency treatment because the symptoms are so severe. They include:
- Blurred vision
- Severe headache
- Eye pain
Normal-tension glaucoma, alternatively, is not a medical emergency. However, it does still require intervention to prevent further vision loss. Doctors aren’t sure what causes normal-tension glaucoma because it happens even when the pressure inside the eye is normal. Still, you may notice symptoms similar to open-angle glaucoma.
Who Is Most At Risk of Developing Glaucoma?
While anyone can get glaucoma, you’re more at risk if this disorder tends to run in your family. You may also be more prone to developing glaucoma if you’re of Black, Asian, or Hispanic heritage. Older people are more at risk, and so are those who’ve had an eye injury or eye surgery in the past. If you’ve ever been diagnosed with thin corneas, or if you’re severely nearsighted or farsighted, schedule regular glaucoma screenings in Elkridge, MD.
Treatment may be as simple as using eye drops or taking oral medication to relieve pressure inside the eye. Surgery may also normalize pressure inside the eye.
If you’re experiencing vision changes in Elkridge, MD, or the surrounding areas, call Dr. Jan Eye Care to request a routine eye exam and glaucoma screening today. Early diagnosis and treatment are key to preventing additional vision loss.