Glaucoma causes vision loss that can’t be reversed, which makes it important to detect and treat this condition as early as possible. At Losh Optometry, Dr. Ryan K. Losh provides glaucoma diagnostic services and treatment for patients in Northwest Missouri and Southwest Iowa.
Glaucoma Q & A
What is glaucoma?
Glaucoma refers to certain conditions that result in a chronic optic nerve atrophy. This damage to the nerve can lead to permanent vision loss. Regular eye examinations can help detect signs of glaucoma early so that Dr. Losh can start treatment to reduce the possibility of vision loss.
What are the symptoms of glaucoma?
Glaucoma doesn’t always cause noticeable signs and symptoms in the early stages. As this condition gets worse, however, individuals typically experience symptoms. The exact symptoms depend on the type of glaucoma an individual has. Common signs of open-angle glaucoma, which is among the most common types, include tunnel vision and blind spots in peripheral vision. These symptoms usually affect both eyes rather than just one eye. Those with symptoms that indicate a serious form of glaucoma called acute angle-closure glaucoma should seek immediate care if they have severe headaches, nausea, eye pain, and blurry vision.
What causes glaucoma?
A higher level of pressure in the eye usually causes glaucoma, although researchers aren’t fully sure why this happens. This increased pressure damages the optic nerve and raises the risk of vision loss. In some individuals, glaucoma occurs without any increase in eye pressure. Certain risk factors, such as having diabetes, being over 60 years old, and having a family history of glaucoma increase the chance of having this condition. Smoking or using tobacco is the only controllable risk factor.
How is glaucoma diagnosed?
Dr. Losh conducts certain tests to check for evidence of glaucoma. These include examining the nerve, scanning the nerve with our Topcon 3D OCT, and measuring pressure in the eye. Other tests include checking the eyes for vision loss through a visual field test and measuring the thickness of the cornea. Dr. Losh might also perform gonioscopy to check the drainage angle to see if a "clog in the drain" is causing pressure to go up in the eye.
How is glaucoma treated?
Treatments for glaucoma aren’t aimed at reversing damage, which isn’t possible. Instead, treatment involves slowing the progression of glaucoma and decreasing eye pressure to reduce the risk of vision loss. Early treatment makes it easier to protect the eyes from vision loss. Treatments include medicated eyedrops that reduce pressure by improving drainage or reducing fluid production in the eye. Other treatment options include oral medicine to lower eye pressure if eye drops aren’t effective, laser therapy, drainage tubes, and filtering procedures to improve drainage. Examinations every three, four, or six months are also necessary to monitor the condition to ensure progression is minimized.
Individuals who have symptoms of glaucoma or those who are at risk of this condition should contact Losh Optometry @ 660.241.5001, for an appointment.