What is glaucoma?
Glaucoma is often called a "silent thief" of vision. In this category of ocular disorders, rising intraocular pressure due to built-up fluid causes damage to the optic nerve. When left untreated, glaucoma can lead to vision loss and, in extreme cases, total blindness. In its early stages, glaucoma often presents no outward warning signs or symptoms, but the damage to the optic nerve and vision that happens is irreversible. There are many treatment options that can help preserve vision when glaucoma is caught early on. West County Ophthalmology proudly performs diagnostic tests to detect glaucoma and offers many treatment options for the management of glaucoma. Please call one of our centers in Chesterfield or O'Fallon, MO to schedule your comprehensive eye exam.
What Are the Symptoms of Glaucoma?
The numerous kinds and stages of glaucoma often have no symptoms at all at first. When symptoms do present, they often either seem insignificant or are quite worrisome. When glaucoma begins to progress, patients commonly first notice issues like blind spots in their peripheral vision, blurred vision, eye strain, and red eyes. As glaucoma advances even further, symptoms often include halos, tunnel vision, vomiting, and eye discomfort. Because glaucoma won't commonly have any symptoms until its later stages, scheduling regular comprehensive eye exams is crucial to identifying signs of glaucoma soon enough to control vision impairment.
How is glaucoma diagnosed and treated?
To diagnose glaucoma, our vision professionals can perform a variety of tests and exams including measuring eye pressure (tonometry), measuring the thickness of your cornea (pachymetry), and assessing the degree of the angle between the iris and the cornea (gonioscopy). There are two primary types of glaucoma we can diagnose, open-angle glaucoma and closed-angle glaucoma. Open-angle glaucoma occurs because of a problem with fluid retention in the trabecular meshwork. Closed-angle or narrow-angle glaucoma occurs because the area between the cornea and iris is too small or obstructed. Glaucoma cannot be reversed; medications and surgical exams can help prevent future damage, however. If you are diagnosed with glaucoma in its early stages, medications and eye drops may be prescribed to control the glaucoma and prevent optic nerve damage that can result in vision loss. If the glaucoma is more advanced or complex, there are several surgical options available to treat rising intraocular pressure and slow the progression of glaucoma.
Effectively manage glaucoma
Early detection and continued management of glaucoma are ideal for protecting your vision and overall quality of life. West County Ophthalmology proudly offers diagnostic tests during our comprehensive eye exams for this common vision complication. To learn more about the diagnosis and management of glaucoma, please contact one of our centers in Chesterfield or O'Fallon, MO.
Glaucoma Diagnosis FAQ
Can you go blind from glaucoma?
Glaucoma can lead to permanent vision loss if it is not treated. However, with regular appointments to reduce and monitor eye pressure, it is rare for a person to lose their vision completely.
Can glaucoma be cured?
There is no cure for glaucoma. Additionally, vision loss that occurs with glaucoma is unfortunately permanent. There are ways we can help you lower high eye pressure, however, to help prevent further vision loss.
How is glaucoma treated?
There are a few ways glaucoma can be treated depending on the stage of the condition. In early stages, a prescription medication and/or eye drops may reduce pressure. In later stages, however, MIGS (minimally invasive glaucoma surgery) may be necessary. We will work with you to ensure you're getting accurate care.
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