The optic nerve, a bundle of nerves at the back of the eye, is responsible for sending visual signals to the brain for interpretation. This is an essential function which is hindered by an extremely common eye condition called Glaucoma. This is an eye condition involving higher than usual inner eye pressure that causes damage to the optic nerve, hindering the process by which visual signals are sent to the brain and creating visual problems.
In healthy cases, fluid called aqueous humor circulates throughout the eye and finds an outlet to flow out of the eye through a small channel. Usually, this fluid flows out from the eye easily, and so long as this is the case, inner eye pressure stays healthy. A blockage of this channel, however, will cause this essential outflow of the aqueous humor to slow or stop. In this case, inner eye pressure jumps up significantly and is likely to cause damage to the eyes if not diagnosed and treated in a timely way.
Glaucoma is generally inherited and can lead to total permanent blindness without any noticeable symptoms prior to serious damage having already been done. Dr. Stuart Glass of Glass Vision Associates, PA comments, “Many patients of ours who have glaucoma report not feeling or noticing any indication that their vision was failing. Their conditions only came to light as a result of regular comprehensive eye exams. Fortunately, in most cases their glaucoma was caught quite early and damage was minimized or prevented altogether. An unfortunately large number of people with glaucoma wait until symptoms are noticeable, at which point damage has already been done, and it is likely that their outcomes will not be as positive.”
In the vast majority of cases, glaucoma shows no symptoms whatsoever. However, severe cases may include symptoms such as halos around lights, vision loss, nausea or vomiting, eye pain or tunnel vision. If you experience these, your Boca Raton eye doctor should be contacted immediately.
Statistically, those in the younger demographic are at much lower risk than those over the age of 40. Members of certain ethnic groups, including African Americans and the Hispanic population, and those with a family history of glaucoma or who have diabetes are also at increased risk for this disease.
Many very effective treatment options are available to treat glaucoma at our optometry practice in Boca Raton, FL. Glaucoma eye drops are usually the preferred, non-surgical method prescribed by eye doctors. These drops work by either reducing the formation of the aqueous humor at the front of the eye or by increasing its overflow, leading to an overcoming of the blockage that normally blocks fluid from draining from the eye. Laser surgery is also another possibility. Surgical procedures involving lasers have a great track record of success. They aim to reduce inner eye pressure by opening up the outflow channel near the iris or make a tiny whole in the iris. Either of these aims to renew normal outflow and lower inner eye fluid pressure. Another laser procedure may be used to treat the part of the eye that produces fluid, with the aim of altering it and causing it to produce less.”
For more information or to have a thorough glaucoma screening, contact Dr. Stuart Glass today.