Did you know that more than three million Americans have glaucoma? When left untreated, glaucoma can quickly progress, causing permanent vision loss. At Dubuque Family Eye Care in Dubuque, Iowa, optometrist Lynn Lester, OD, specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of glaucoma using safe, effective means. If you are concerned about your risk, schedule an appointment by calling the office or booking online today.
Glaucoma describes a group of eye conditions that progressively damage the optic nerve, which is the nerve that connects the eye to the brain. Individuals living with glaucoma can lose nerve tissue, which can lead to vision loss.
The optic nerve consists of a bundle of nearly 1 million individual nerve fibers that transmit the visual signals from your eye to your brain. Often, glaucoma occurs as a result of abnormally high pressure at the back of your eyes. Glaucoma is the second-leading cause of blindness in the United States and affects people of all ages, but it’s especially common in individuals over 60.
It’s important to note that not everyone with high eye pressure will develop glaucoma, and some people with normal eye pressure may also develop glaucoma. When the pressure inside of a person’s eye is too high for a particular optic nerve, glaucoma can develop.
In its early stages, glaucoma presents symptoms, which makes annual eye exams incredibly important. They can alert you to potentially serious problems early on when they’re most responsive to treatment.
Although there’s no cure for glaucoma, it’s possible to prevent the condition from getting worse. Usually, this involves treatment to slow the progression and preserve your eyesight.
There are several types of glaucoma, including:
Primary open-angle glaucoma develops slowly over time and typically doesn’t produce any symptoms. Most people who develop this condition are unaware of it until they experience significant vision loss. Glaucoma initially affects your peripheral vision, but it can advance to the point where it affects your central vision too. Left untreated, glaucoma can lead to vision loss and blindness that affects both eyes.
Although acute angle-closure glaucoma is less common, it can have equally devastating effects on your vision. It typically occurs abruptly when there is a rapid increase in pressure inside your eye. It often produces symptoms like severe eye pain, nausea, redness in the eye, and blurred vision. With acute angle-closure glaucoma, vision loss can occur quickly, so it’s important to see an optometrist immediately.
To diagnose glaucoma, Dr. Lester conducts a thorough eye exam and reviews your medical history. She also measures your intraocular pressure, tests your optic nerve for damage, and inspects the drainage angle of your eyes.
Unfortunately, there’s no way to prevent glaucoma or reverse the damage caused by it. However, it is possible to manage your symptoms and slow the progression of the disease. Depending on your symptoms and the severity of your condition, Dr. Lester might recommend prescription eye drops, oral medications, or more frequent eye exams. If your glaucoma persists or gets worse, surgical intervention may be necessary.
To schedule your glaucoma appointment at Dubuque Family Eye Care, call the office or book online today.