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Q: What is Glaucoma?

Glaucoma is a disease process that affects the optic nerve in your eye and causes you to loose your vision. It affects your peripheral vision first and slowly and silently takes your vision constricting your field of view and can eventually lead to blindness if not treated.

Q: What causes Glaucoma?

Glaucoma is caused by either making too much of the fluid inside your eye or that fluid not draining out fast enough; therefore, raising the pressure in your eye and choking the optic nerve head causing you to loose your vision.

Q: Who gets Glaucoma?

People at risk for developing glaucoma:

  • are over age 40
  • have a family history of glaucoma
  • are of African or Hispanic heritage
  • have high eye pressure
  • have had an eye injury
  • have thin corneas
  • have thinning of the optic nerve
  • have diabetes, migraines, sleep apnea, poor blood circulation or other health problems affecting the whole body

Q: Will I go blind from Glaucoma?

Yes, it is possible to go blind from glaucoma if it is not treated. However, yearly eye examinations that include checking intraocular pressure and dilated fundus examination would lead to early detection and therefore limit the amount of sight threatening damage that can occur if left untreated.

Q: How can I tell if I have Glaucoma?

Glaucoma is not something that you can feel or see. Usually, pressure increases leading to decreased peripheral vision happen slowly over time. In fact, so slowly that you wouldn’t even know it was going on until it is too late. This is why it is so important to have yearly eye exams with the same eye care professional who is looking for subtle changes from year to year.

Q: How is Glaucoma detected?

Each year when it is time for your eye exam to update your glasses and contact lens prescription, your doctor will do a test that checks the pressure inside your eyes. Most people don’t realize that the air poof test or the blue light test that is done is the test that is run to rule out and screen for glaucoma. High pressures are not the only indicator, though. Peripheral vision screeners and dilated fundus examination to check the optic nerve head are also very important tools used to piece together the glaucoma puzzle.

Q: How is Glaucoma treated?

Typically, glaucoma is treated using drops every evening before bedtime. However, depending on the type of glaucoma and other circumstances, there are different treatments including surgical treatments and laser treatments to help decrease intraocular pressure. Glaucoma never goes away with treatment, it just slows down the progression of glaucoma.

Q: Can Glaucoma be prevented?

No. Usually glaucoma has a genetic component that can not be avoided.