When it comes to your eyes, you may not give them much thought. But you should! After all, they are your windows into the world around you.
Did you know that January is Glaucoma Awareness Month? Glaucoma is a misunderstood eye condition that affects millions of people each year. Keep reading to find out if you’re glaucoma aware!
Glaucoma is part of a group of eye diseases that damage the optic nerve. The optic nerve is in the back of the eye and handles transferring electrical impulses to the brain.
These impulses are then translated into images by the brain. If the optic nerve becomes damaged, there is no way to reverse it. With glaucoma, the optic nerve experiences damage because of high eye (intraocular) pressure.
The two most common kinds of glaucoma are open angle and closed angle glaucoma.
With open angle glaucoma, the eye’s drainage angle is open but it doesn’t behave as it should.
Open angle glaucoma usually has no symptoms, and the only way to know if you have it is to undergo regular eye exams. Because there are no symptoms, most patients experience vision loss before their diagnosis. Open angle glaucoma may come on slowly over time.
The other most common kind of glaucoma is closed angle glaucoma. With closed angle, fluid in the eye cannot get to the anterior chamber angle.
Unlike open angle, closed angle glaucoma can occur quickly. Some common symptoms include eye pain, blurred vision, headaches, and vomiting. When left untreated, both forms of glaucoma lead to permanent vision loss.
As the “silent thief of sight”, you may be wondering who is most at risk for developing glaucoma. If you are over the age of 60, you are already more at risk of developing the condition.
Another risk factor with glaucoma is family health history. If you have a family member who has glaucoma, you are more at risk to develop it. Individuals who are of Latino or African American descent are also more at risk for glaucoma.
If you know that you are at a higher risk of developing glaucoma, it’s even more important to have regular eye exams! Individuals who know they are higher risk may want to have eye exams more than once a year.
A regular eye exam with a qualified ophthalmologist is the only way to diagnose glaucoma. Like most conditions, diagnosing glaucoma earlier makes it easier to treat.
If you are diagnosed with glaucoma, it’s important to start treatment as soon as possible. The most common treatment option is eye drops.
These eye drops help reduce intraocular pressure. Drops may not work for all patients, or could cause negative side effects. Another option are pills.
The pills aim to do the same as the eye drops but without negative side effects. For some patients, drops and pills will be prescribed together.
If your glaucoma is more advanced or doesn’t respond to eye drops or pills, there are surgical options. At Mid Ohio Eye, we can offer the iStent Trabecular Micro-Bypass.
This is in combination with cataract surgery. The iStent is a MIGS procedure (Micro Invasive Glaucoma Surgery).
With MIGS, there’s improvement in draining fluid from the eye and less side effects. MIGS may not be right for every patient, so it’s important to discuss your options with your eye doctor.
Wondering if you should be worried about glaucoma? Schedule a consultation with Mid Ohio Eye in Columbus, Ohio today!