Eye Care: The Wonders of Technology

Understanding The Diagnosis And Treatment Of Glaucoma

by Stella Robinson

You may have heard of glaucoma but never truly understood what it is. After all, your eye doctor tests for it every time you have a routine eye exam. But if your results always come out negative, you may never really think about what glaucoma is. However, it's important to understand the causes, diagnoses, and treatment options for glaucoma because it's a hereditary disease that can cause permanent blindness if left untreated. Learn more about it below so you can catch glaucoma early.

What is Glaucoma?

Glaucoma is an eye condition caused by fluid build-up in the eye. This fluid causes pressure that damages the optic nerve. The pressure causes gradual vision loss, but if left untreated, the vision loss can turn into permanent and total blindness. 

Possible Risk Factors for Glaucoma

It's especially important to understand what glaucoma is because the symptoms are hard to notice. This is one of the reasons why your optometrist checks for it every year. If you have a history of diabetes in your family, are over 40, have recently had eye surgery, or take steroid medication, talk to your eye doctor. You should be checked for glaucoma more often than a regular patient. It's also helpful to note that patients of the following familial descent are at higher risk for glaucoma:

  • Irish
  • Japanese
  • Russian
  • African-American
  • Inuit
  • Scandinavian

Glaucoma Diagnoses 

How will your doctor diagnose glaucoma if you have it? First, book an appointment with a local eye doctor, such as Country Hills Eye Center,  if you experience light halos, vision loss, eye redness, nausea, eye pain, hazy eyes, or tunnel vision. These are symptoms of glaucoma and should not go untreated. 

When you go to the optometrist office, your doctor will examine your optic nerve, which becomes damaged when eye pressure builds up. He or she will look for added eye pressure with a tonometry test, or a small puff of air. They will also look for loss of side vision with a vision field test. If you show signs of glaucoma, they will take proper measures to treat you.

Treatment for Glaucoma

Once your doctor diagnoses you with glaucoma, there are several treatment options available. If your glaucoma is in the early stages, your doctor may simply prescribe eye drops to reduce fluid formation. If your symptoms are more advanced, laser surgery to create a drainage hole in the eye is possible. A more recent treatment implants a microscopic stent into the eye to relieve fluid pressure. 

Talk through your options with your doctor to find the right treatment for you.