Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases that causes gradual loss of vision without warning and most often without symptoms. In fact, roughly half of the 3 million Americans who have glaucoma do not realize they are affected by the disease due to the absence of warning signs. Glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness in the U.S. and the leading cause of preventable blindness.
Vision loss from glaucoma is caused by damage to the optic nerve. The damage occurs when the pressure within the eye increases due to a build-up of fluid inside the eye. However, damage may occur without intra-ocular pressure elevation.
It is important to understand that individual response to eye pressure varies. Some people develop optic nerve damage from relatively low pressures, while others sustain no damage from higher pressures.
Open Angle Glaucoma is the most common type of the disease. Standard treatments include medication in the form of eye drops. Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty (SLT) is an advanced type of laser treatment to manage patients with Open Angle Glaucoma. SLT is a cold laser that lowers intraocular pressure by stimulating cells inside the eye to promote fluid drainage. SLT does not cause scarring inside the eye and is repeatable.
Low Tension Glaucoma is a condition where the optic nerve is damaged even though the intraocular pressure is normal. Unfortunately, everyone is at risk for glaucoma. Your risk can increase with certain factors present, including age, diabetes and a family history of glaucoma. People over 60 years of age are six times more likely to develop glaucoma.
Because Open Angle Glaucoma and Low Tension Glaucoma have no symptoms, regular eye examinations are important. Intraocular pressure measurement and careful evaluation of the optic nerve are routine elements in a comprehensive ophthalmological examination. Further testing, such as visual field testing and an optic nerve scan may be required for definitive diagnosis and follow up evaluation.
If the disease remains untreated, the optic nerve could be damaged to the point that irreversible blindness will result. Our qualified glaucoma doctors will diagnose and set a proper treatment option. Call Cataract & Eye Consultants of Michigan today for more information on how we can help with your glaucoma.