Glaucoma is a leading cause of blindness in the United States, especially for older people. Loss of vision is preventable if treatment begins early enough.
It is a disease of the optic nerve which carries images to the brain. The higher the pressure in the eye, the greater is the opportunity to damage the optic nerve. High pressure cannot be felt, but is measured with a special instrument called a tonometer which should be a part of every routine eye exam.
Glaucoma rarely has symptoms before it affects vision.This is the reason that routine eye exams are critical. Early detection is the key to preventing vision loss or blindness from glaucoma.
Types of Glaucoma
Chronic open-angle glaucoma is the most common type of glaucoma. It occurs as a result of aging and is a result of poor drainage of the clear liquid inside of the eye. This liquid is not part of the tears that we normally have in our eyes. Poor draining increases pressure, which causes optic nerve damage. It is so gradual and painless that you are unaware there is a problem until the nerve is badly damaged. This damage is not reversible. Over 90% of adult glaucoma patients have this type of glaucoma.
Angle-closure glaucoma is when the drainage system is completely blocked. This occurs very quickly and has symptoms that include blurred vision, severe pain in the eye, headache, rainbows or haloes around lights and nausea and vomiting. Angle closure glaucoma is an emergency. If it is not treated immediately, blindness may result.
The risk factors for glaucoma include age, nearsightedness, family history of glaucoma, African ancestry, past injury to the eyes, and a history of severe anemia or shock.
Glaucoma is usually treated with eye drops that are taken several times a day. Laser surgery may be used for glaucoma and sometimes surgery is performed if the eye drops do not control the pressure.
At Grand Rapids Ophthalmology, we are fortunate to have Dr. Kenyon Kendall and Dr. Marcus Muallem as our glaucoma specialists. Dr. Kendall is fellowship trained in glaucoma and Dr. Muallem is fellowship trained in glaucoma and cornea. They stay at the forefront of new technology and procedures insuring you are receiving the best treatment available for your eyes.
Grand Rapids Ophthalmology has been West Michigan’s leading eye care provider since 1982, providing the most advanced technologies available, delivered by a committed, caring and dedicated team of doctors and staff. We are here for the lifetime of you and your family’s eye care needs. Schedule an appointment today to experience the Grand Rapids Ophthalmology difference.
Please call 616.949.2600 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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