Glaucoma is a
condition characterized by progressive damage to the optic nerve. The optic nerve is the “cable” which brings
the image of everything we see to our brains.
glaucoma results from increased pressure within the eye. Thinking of the eye as a sink, with the water
always on, the increased pressure is either due to the faucet running too much,
or from the drain being clogged. Over
time, this increased pressure pushes against the optic nerve inside the eye, causing
it to become damaged, and vision loss results.
It is important to
realize that glaucoma typically has no
early symptoms, and can only be detected by your eye doctor. The most common type of glaucoma does not
cause pain, and vision stays normal until it is lost.
causes slow progressive loss of peripheral (side) vision. Eventually, the visual field closes in from
the outside, and in end stages, complete blindness can result.
Once vision is lost
due to glaucoma, it can never be recovered.
Early detection, diagnosis and treatment is the only way to prevent
detected and diagnosed through a comprehensive eye examination, which may
include any or all of the following:
accurately measuring the pressure inside the eye
examination with Ophthalmoscopy: The instillation
of drops in the eyes to widen the pupils and allow Dr. Mitchell a complete view
of all intraocular structures
measurement of the thickness of the cornea
Testing: Determination of the sensitivity of your
Technology: Retinal and/or optic nerve photography, which
can be useful to monitor progression of damage to the optic nerve over
Coherence Tomography: This state of the art spectral-domain
instrument quantitatively measures the anatomical structures of the eye,
analyzing the thin tissues which make up your optic nerves. Our office is proud to have the most advanced
system of its kind available.
Segment Imaging: This testing is done to closely examine the
“drain” within the eye to determine if outflow of fluid from the eye is causing
excess pressure to build.
are all important to diagnose glaucoma early.
Because vision lost from the disease cannot be restored, early diagnosis
and immediate treatment is paramount .
include medicines (eye drops), laser procedures, conventional surgery, or a
combination of any of these. The goal of any treatment is to prevent loss of
vision, but there is no “cure” for glaucoma.
It must be consistently treated and managed.
If you are being
treated for glaucoma, be sure to take your prescribed glaucoma medicine every
day, and see your eye care professional regularly.
You also can help
protect the vision of family members and friends who may be at high risk for
glaucoma-African Americans over age 40; everyone over age 60, especially
Mexican Americans; and people with a family history of the disease. Encourage
them to have a comprehensive dilated eye exam at least once every two years.
Remember that lowering eye pressure in the early stages of glaucoma slows
progression of the disease and helps save vision.