Is glaucoma treatment successful In Clearwater, FL?
Glaucoma is a disease that damages your eye's optic nerve. It usually happens when fluid builds up in the front part of your eye. That extra fluid increases the pressure in your eye, damaging the optic nerve. Glaucoma is a leading cause of blindness for people over 60 years old. But blindness from glaucoma can often be prevented with early treatment.
Eye Words to Know
Optic nerve: A nerve at the back of your eye that connects to your brain. The optic nerve sends light signals to your brain so you can see.
Aqueous humor ("aqueous"): Clear liquid inside the front part of our eyes. It nourishes the eye and helps it hold its shape. (Aqueous is different from tears.)
Drainage angle: The area of the eye where the aqueous humor drains from the front of the eye.
Iris: The colored part of your eye. It controls the size of your pupil to let light into your eye.
What causes glaucoma?
Your eye constantly makes aqueous humor. As new aqueous flows into your eye, the same amount should drain out. The fluid drains out through an area called the drainage angle. This process keeps pressure in the eye (called intraocular pressure or IOP) stable. But if the drainage angle is not working properly, fluid builds up. Pressure inside the eye rises, damaging the optic nerve. The optic nerve is made of more than a million tiny nerve fibers. It is like an electric cable made up of many small wires. As these nerve fibers die, you will develop blind spots in your vision. You may not notice these blind spots until most of your optic nerve fibers have died. If all of the fibers die, you will become blind.
What are the symptoms?
As we mentioned prior, people won’t often experience any symptoms. One of the first warning signs is a loss of peripheral vision. Sometimes even this can be so subtle that a patient won’t notice it until the condition has progressed. The most effective tool for early glaucoma detection is to get an eye exam every year. People with diabetes or those with an increased risk for glaucoma may want to talk with their eye doctor to find out if they should come in more often for routine exams. Sometimes people with glaucoma may experience eye pain, blurry vision, headaches or halos around lights.
How is glaucoma treated?
It’s important that you schedule an ophthalmologist evaluation as soon as you notice any vision changes. The goal of treatment is to lower the pressure within the eye so that the blocked fluid can drain properly. This can often be achieved with eye drops. If eye drops don’t provide proper relief then medication may be prescribed.
If medication doesn’t alleviate symptoms then our eye specialists may recommend surgery. There are a variety of different surgical techniques and the right surgical procedure will depend on the type of glaucoma you have. Most patients won’t need to take medication once they undergo glaucoma surgery.