Glaucoma refers to a group of conditions that can deteriorate the optic nerve, which has the important job of carrying visual impulses to the brain. When neglected, glaucoma will typically cause long-term tunnel vision and/or total blindness. It's nearly always caused by increased intraocular pressure from built-up fluid.
Glaucoma primarily occurs in individuals beyond the age of 60. Currently, around two million individuals in the U.S. have glaucoma; however, many of them haven't been diagnosed. Initially, glaucoma has no noticeable symptoms and is commonly referred to as the "silent thief." Though a cure has not been found for the disease, it may be managed through early diagnosis and proper therapies.
This is a primary reason why receiving thorough eye examinations at least every other year is vital to your overall eye health.
The many different types and stages of glaucoma often don't cause any symptoms to manifest in the initial stages. However, each version might also present one or a few symptoms that could range from minor to severe. When glaucoma starts to progress, people may first notice changes, like decreasing peripheral vision, dimmed vision, eye fatigue, and eye redness. As the disease advances even further, symptoms can start to include seeing rainbows around lights, loss of all but central vision, nausea, and eye discomfort. Since glaucoma doesn't commonly show any symptoms until its advanced stages, receiving regular, comprehensive eye exams is extremely important in detecting it soon enough to slow vision loss.
All types of glaucoma are caused by trauma to the optic nerve. Nearly always, this trauma is due to high internal eye pressure caused by problems with eye fluid drainage. In healthy eyes, the fluid that nourishes the eye tissue is allowed to drain to different areas via a special tissue, the trabecular meshwork, that exists between the iris and the cornea. In some patients, this flow can be obstructed or extremely slow, which leads to fluid buildup.
The most familiar kinds of glaucoma are diagnosed based on the functional capacity of the trabecular meshwork and the narrowness of the space between the iris and cornea. When fluid retention is the result of a malfunction inside the trabecular meshwork, it is considered open-angle glaucoma. In contrast, if the retention is the result of the drainage area between the cornea and iris becoming too narrow or obstructed, this is known as narrow- or closed-angle glaucoma. Research has shown that pressure-related glaucoma can run in families. Besides genetics and age, additional factors that could elevate intraocular pressure include extended use of corticosteroid eye drops, having abnormally thin corneal tissue, being Hispanic, Asian, or African American, and having certain health conditions, like diabetes mellitus. It is important to note that glaucoma can be the result of problems besides eye pressure. In these instances, it is called secondary glaucoma because it is the result of a separate, preexisting condition.
Glaucoma Explained Reviews
"If not for the care I received from the Staff at Dr. Ming Wang's Vision Center I would probably be blind. They discovered my eye was hemorrhaging from untreated glaucoma. My vision was saved and after lasik and Forever Young implants, my reading vision is 20/20 and distance vision 20/25. I am so grateful to the wonderful staff who have taken such good care of my eyes."- Anonymous / RateMDs / Jun 05, 2018
"I had my 3D SMILE procedure done on Sept 25. First, everyone in the office was kind and accommodating. I have a family history of ocular issues (maternal grandmother with glaucoma and macular degeneration) so I had a lot of questions for Dr. Connolly during the evaluation. She answered each question and also pulled up the latest research on line regarding my questions so I could see it for myself. I was seeking opinions regarding Laser correction surgery and laser correction of black floaters in my eye. Dr. Connolly was honest in telling my that no laser correction could be done on the kind of black floaters I had, and that it would not be wise if anyone offered to correct them as they could damage my lens. I so appreciated this evaluation, and felt completely comfortable having a procedure here. Dr. Wang did my procedure and thoroughly walked me through each step. I was understandably nervous but was reassured and coached during the entire procedure, which was only about 10min its entirety. At my 24hr appointment I was seeing 20/20 and my vision continued to get clearer over the following two weeks as expected. My advice would be to have your laser procedure done by Wang Vision and to use all drops as prescribed. I am so glad I did 3D SMILE, seeing without glasses in the morning, while swimming, and doing yoga has been a true gift. Thank You!"- E.E. / Google / Oct 19, 2019
"My Mother had a large cataract and glaucoma! Dr. Frankel was amazing!! My Mom can already see better!!"- L.S. / Facebook / Jan 21, 2020
"I noticed that my vision was not as clear as it use to be, so my optometrist (from another vision center) told me it was time to have cataract surgery. I was a little nervous because I had never seen an ophthalmologist at that center. About a month earlier, I had taken my sister, who is legally blind, to Wang vision Institute hoping that her vision would be improved. Her doctor was Dr. Joshua Frenkel, who specializes in cataract and glaucoma surgery; all of which she had. I was so pleased with the treatment she received and the compassion the whole staff showed us that I wanted Dr. Frenkel to remove my cataracts and treat my glaucoma. My surgery was June of this year and I cannot be more pleased. My vision is so crisp and clear that I see the world so differently now. My pressure is 10 in both eyes as opposed to being in the high teens and low twenties. Thank you Drs. Frenkel and Johnson for taking such good care of my sister and me."- E.W. / Yelp / Oct 07, 2020
Several necessary tests are done to establish if someone has glaucoma. Each of the tests is very comfortable, fairly easy, and fast. Usually, these will include measuring the intraocular pressure (tonometry) and how thick the cornea is (pachymetry), determining the width of the pathway between the cornea and iris (gonioscopy), observing and recording the appearance of the optic nerve, testing the patient’s degree of side (peripheral) vision, and looking for any spots of blindness.
After a glaucoma diagnosis is made, there are multiple methods patients can use to effectively manage it. All of these methods focus on decreasing intraocular pressure to prevent further injury to the optical nerve. Many patients who are in the initial stages of glaucoma are often able to delay or interrupt their vision loss by controlling glaucoma with specialized eye drops.
For those whose condition is further along, more extensive treatments, such as MIGS (minimally invasive glaucoma surgery) or a trabeculectomy, can potentially help the condition significantly.
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