Glaucoma: Facts You Need to Know
- Posted on: Jul 15 2019
When eye health diminishes, so does quality of life. We don’t talk about some of the most serious eye conditions nearly enough. Discussion about eye health tends to revolve around general changes in vision or problems like chronic dry eye or digital eye strain. These are all important topics. However, today we want to review a few critical points about glaucoma.
Glaucoma is the second most common cause of blindness in the world. It is estimated that approximately 3 million Americans have glaucoma and that thousands of new diagnoses are made each year. As if these details were not alarming enough, we need to go further.
- Glaucoma is a “silent” eye disease.
We call a disease silent when it does not cause symptoms. Symptoms are the typical warning signs that we expect to occur when disease of any kind has developed. Glaucoma doesn’t work that way. It is a sneaky disease that gradually affects the retina at the back of the eye until, very quickly, blind spots occur as a result of pressure on the optic nerve. These blind spots cannot be restored. Treatment administered by an ophthalmologist focuses on preserving the eyesight that remains.
- It is excess fluid that causes Glaucoma.
The eye is like a ball in shape. The spherical structure is maintained by a fluid-filled chamber behind the sclera, iris, and cornea. This fluid is called the aqueous humor. More than sitting at the center of the eye, the aqueous humor regenerates to some degree. Fluid escapes through the sclera and exits the eye through a network of vessels. Additional fluid enters the inner chamber after it is produced in the ciliary body. This process usually occurs like clock-work. We never give it a second thought. Glaucoma is the condition of increased intraocular pressure caused by an accumulation of fluid in the eye.
- Signs of Glaucoma DO exist, and your eye doctor can find them.
During a routine eye exam, one of the tests an ophthalmologist performs measures the pressure in the eye (intraocular pressure). The test is easy and painless. Conducted with a tonometer, the intraocular pressure screening identifies the level of pressure in mmHg. A reading over 20 mmHg is considered high. With this level, a doctor is likely to order additional tests to closely observe the retina, optic nerve, and other ocular structures.
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Posted in: Glaucoma