Warning Signs of Glaucoma and How it is Treated
Posted December 10, 2019 by Jennifer Bohl, MD
Glaucoma is a condition that causes damage to the optic nerve of the eye, which can lead to progressive vision loss. There are different types of glaucoma, each of which is related to pressure inside the eye and mostly occurring later in life, though possibly can develop at any age. Vision loss related to glaucoma is permanent and if untreated, can result in complete blindness. In fact, glaucoma is one of the leading causes of blindness for people over the age of 60.
Many forms of glaucoma have no early signs or symptoms, which makes screening eye exams especially important in preventing vision loss. With early recognition, glaucomatous damage can be slowed or prevented, but will typically need lifelong monitoring and treatment.
Causes of Glaucoma
Every eye is filled with a fluid called the aqueous humor. This fluid is constantly being produced by the eye and is constantly draining back into the body’s bloodstream to maintain normal eye pressure. If there is a blockage of fluid drainage, the pressure in the eye builds up and can result in glaucoma. While some forms of glaucoma are inherited, most of the time the etiology is unknown. Less common causes include blunt or chemical injury to the eye, severe eye infections, blocked blood vessels in the eye, inflammatory eye diseases, and certain medications.
Risk Factors for Glaucoma
Age greater than 60
- Family history of glaucoma
- Black, Asian, or Hispanic heritage
- Certain medical conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, migraine, and sickle cell anemia
- Corneas that are thinner than average
- High internal eye pressure
- Extreme nearsighted or farsightedness
- History of eye injury
- Long-term use of steroid medication
Symptoms of Glaucoma
Signs and symptoms vary depending on the type and stage of the condition. When symptoms do develop, it is usually late in the disease. If you have any of the following symptoms, get medical care right away:
- Seeing halos around lights
- Vision loss
- Eye redness
- Whitening/haziness of the cornea
- Eye pain
- Patchy blind spots inside or central vision
- Tunnel vision
- Severe headaches
Taking care of your sight on a regular basis and taking steps to detect glaucoma in its early stages can be important in preventing vision loss and slowing its progress.
- Know your family’s eye health history.
- Get regular dilated comprehensive eye exams to help detect glaucoma in its early stages.
- Exercise regularly to help reduce eye pressure.
- Wear eye protection when using power tools or playing sports to avoid serious injuries.
Summa Health offers high-quality vision care including glaucoma evaluation and treatment in an intimate and personalized setting. Visit Summa Health Ophthalmology to learn more about our team and to schedule an appointment.