What is glaucoma?
Glaucoma is a group of diseases of the optic nerve involving loss of retinal ganglion cells.
Glaucoma affects one in two hundred people aged fifty and younger, and one in ten over the age of eighty. It is the second leading cause of blindness worldwide.
What are the risk factors of glaucoma?
Ocular hypertension – or increased pressure within the eye – is the largest risk factor in most glaucoma.
Although raised intraocular pressure is a significant risk factor for developing glaucoma, there is no set threshold for intraocular pressure that causes glaucoma. One person may develop nerve damage at a relatively low pressure, while another person may have high eye pressure for years and yet never develop damage.
Other risk factors include:
- Race (people with African, Hispanic, or Asian heritage)
- Family history
- Age (people older than 40)
- History of eye injury
- Long-term use of steroid medication
- Thin corneas
- History of diabetes, migraines, or high blood pressure
Those at risk for glaucoma are advised to have a dilated eye examination at least once a year.
What are the symptoms of glaucoma?
Glaucoma has been nicknamed the “sneaky thief of sight” because the loss of visual field often occurs gradually over a long time and may only be recognized when it is already quite advanced. Once lost, this damaged visual field can never be recovered.
Symptoms of glaucoma can include:
- Double vision
- Patchy blind spots in peripheral vision
- Eye pain in or around eyes
- Change in the color of the iris
- Sensitivity to light or glare
- Difficulty focusing on objects both near and far
Untreated glaucoma leads to permanent damage of the optic nerve and visual field loss, which can progress to blindness.
How is glaucoma treated?
Although glaucoma cannot be cured, it can be treated.
Treatment of glaucoma depends on the severity and progression of the disease. In some instances, eyedrops and oral medication can be used to manage the disease. In more advanced instances, laser or operative surgery to promote fluid drainage from the eye may be necessary.
What is selective laser trabeculoplasty?
Selective laser trabeculoplasty is a surgery designed to treat open angle glaucoma.
During this treatment, the doctor lowers intraocular pressure by applying laser treatment and stimulating the cells, improving the outflow of intraocular fluid.
For more information about how South East Eye can treat your glaucoma, contact us today.