Protect your eyes from vision loss. Get advanced treatment for glaucoma from a Greater St. Louis area eye care specialist.
Glaucoma is a complex eye disease with progressive loss of vision caused by damage to the optic nerve. Eye pressure is a major risk factor and, unfortunately, the damage is irreversible.
A comprehensive eye exam is the best chance for early detection because there are no early warning signs.
Learn more below and contact a trusted eye care provider to find the right treatment for you. Find an office near you in the Greater St. Louis area.
Who Is at Risk for Glaucoma?
Glaucoma is a leading cause of blindness. The main culprit is an unhealthy buildup of eye pressure. Unfortunately there are no early warning signs.
Many people are at risk including people over age 60, certain ethnic groups, and those with a family history. Though rare, even children and babies can have this disease.
What Causes Glaucoma?
Your eye has special systems to help drain fluids and manage pressure inside the eyeball. Sometimes these systems do not function properly. The balance of fluids can be upset creating increased pressure and damage to the optic nerve.
Doctors classify glaucoma based on the underlying cause of the nerve damage. The different classifications of glaucoma include the following.
Open-angle glaucoma is the most common form. There is an imbalance in the flow of fluids and an increase in eye pressure. The change is gradual and very damaging before any symptoms arise.
Angle-closure or closed-angle glaucoma occurs when the drainage angle or opening is blocked. This type is less common and can be chronic or come on suddenly.
Normal-tension glaucoma is having optic nerve damage even though eye pressure is normal.
How Does an Eye Doctor Detect Glaucoma?
Unfortunately, there are no early warning signs of glaucoma. Only a trained eye doctor can diagnose the disease using advanced medical technology to test the shape of the eye and pressure of the fluids.
Here are a few tests that your doctor may perform:
Tonometry: measures inner eye pressure
Ophthalmoscopy: tests for optic nerve damage
Perimetry: tests field of vision
Pachymetry: measures corneal thickness
Gonioscopy: inspects important anatomy inside the eye
Care for Glaucoma
The bad news is that the damage from glaucoma cannot be reversed or repaired. The good news is that there are many prescription eye drops, medications, surgery and other therapies to manage symptoms and prevent further damage to the optic nerve.
Newly diagnosed patients may need to have eye pressure checked weekly or monthly. Ongoing, people with glaucoma need regular exams to monitor eye pressure. And even when your eye pressure is at a safe level, you may need to see your doctor several times a year for checkups.