Glaucoma is one of the first causes of preventable blindness or visual impairment in the U.S. Unfortunately, this eye disease can affect patients of all ages and backgrounds. This is why it is so important to take certain measures to protect your vision, even if you have perfect eyesight. The first symptom people often notice is a loss of peripheral vision. So what is glaucoma, and what are some of the most common signs of glaucoma?
Glaucoma is a condition that causes damage to the optic nerve. If you are concerned you have glaucoma, the experienced eye doctors at Nevada Eye Physicians can evaluate your medical history and symptoms to diagnose glaucoma and create a plan of action moving forward. Schedule your eye appointment in Las Vegas, Mesquite, Henderson, Boulder City, and Pahrump, NV, by giving us a call today. Our team is dedicated to your complete eye health.
What is glaucoma?
Many people want to know – what is glaucoma? To understand this condition, it is important to first know how the eye works. The eye circulates a fluid called aqueous humor. When this circulation is blocked, the liquid begins to build up and cause pressure. This is known as intraocular pressure, and it can cause damage to the optic nerve. If the blockage is not cleared away or the damage to the nerve is not addressed, patients may lose their vision for good. Scientists do not always know what causes the initial blockage, but genetics could be a factor in most cases. Medical conditions, such as diabetes or inflammatory eye conditions, could also be the cause.
Angle-closure glaucoma (ACG) and primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG) are common types of glaucoma. ACG is caused by blocked drainage, and the symptoms are noticed more easily. Angle-closure glaucoma could be more serious and needs to be treated as soon as you develop symptoms. Signs of POAG develop more slowly.
Many patients do not experience symptoms during the early stages of glaucoma. This makes it hard for patients to know if they have the disease. As glaucoma progresses, patients experience a loss of peripheral vision along with eye pain. Other signs of glaucoma include blurred vision, halos around bright lights, severe eye pain, or sudden loss of vision.
How to prevent glaucoma
Many of our patients want to know how to prevent glaucoma from forming in the first place. The best way to spot glaucoma early and prevent vision loss is through regular eye examinations. During this appointment, Nevada Eye Physicians will get a complete health history and see if you are at risk of glaucoma due to diabetes or another chronic illness. We will then dilate your pupils and measure your intraocular pressure. If the levels are too high, this may be an indication of glaucoma. A visual field test will also ensure you are not losing your peripheral vision.
Even if you cannot control the onset of glaucoma, you can take the appropriate steps to keep your eyes healthy. This includes the following:
- Follow all instructions as given by your eye care provider and primary care physician
- Report any concerning eye symptoms or signs of glaucoma immediately
- Sleep with your head slightly elevated to lower the amount of pressure in your eyes
- Participate in a regular diet and exercise plan to keep your whole body in good health
How to treat glaucoma
Patients who have been diagnosed with glaucoma should begin treatment with a physician immediately to minimize the risk of vision loss. Although there is no cure for this eye disease, treatment focuses on preventing further damage and relieving glaucoma symptoms. Most cases can be treated with prescription medication, surgery, or laser surgery. Some drugs can reduce eye pressure, while others improve fluid drainage. Surgery is also designed to help fluid escape from the eye more easily. The best treatment depends on the type and severity of the disease. Rest assured that the experts at Nevada Eye Physicians will develop a plan best suited to your needs.
Schedule a glaucoma screening
Patients who are at a greater risk for developing glaucoma should have a comprehensive eye examination at least once every two years, or as directed by their eye physician. Older patients may want to test more frequently. If you want to learn how to prevent glaucoma and take the essential first step in preserving your vision, contact Nevada Eye Physicians in Las Vegas, Mesquite, Henderson, Boulder City, and Pahrump, NV. We can teach you what to expect in terms of glaucoma symptoms and treatment options.