Glaucoma is defined as a group of eye diseases characterized by damage to the optic nerve usually due to excessively high intraocular pressure (IOP). This increased pressure within the eye, if untreated, can lead to optic nerve damage resulting in progressive, permanent vision loss usually starting with unnoticeable blind spots at the edges of the field of vision, progressing to tunnel vision, and then to blindness.
There are no symptoms in the early stage of glaucoma. This disease is often called “the sneak thief of sight.” Often, by the time the patient notices vision loss, glaucoma can only be halted, not reversed.
There are several different types of glaucoma, including open-angle glaucoma and acute angle-closure glaucoma. Open-angle glaucoma is the common adult-onset type of glaucoma. Acute angle-closure glaucoma is a less common form of glaucoma that can rapidly impair vision.
The treatment of glaucoma may include medication, surgery or laser surgery. Eye drops or pills alone can usually control glaucoma, although they cannot cure it. Some drugs are designed to reduce pressure by slowing the flow of fluid into the eye, while others help to improve fluid drainage. Surgery to help fluid escape from the eye and laser surgery are now often used for the same purpose. In laser surgery for glaucoma, a laser beam of light is focused on the part of the anterior chamber where the fluid leaves the eye. This results in a series of small changes, making it easier for fluid to exit. However, over time the effect of laser surgery may wear off.
Between two to three million people in the United States have glaucoma, and around 120,000 of those are legally blind as a result. The risk of glaucoma increases dramatically with age, but it can strike any age group, even newborn infants.
It is important to have your eyes checked annually to maintain optimal vision and eye health. Early diagnosis of glaucoma is crucial in preventing total vision loss. For more information about glaucoma or to schedule an eye examination with Dr. Pennachio in Clermont, contact Pennachio Eye at 352-227-1999 or pennachioold.wpengine.com today.