Glaucoma Care and Management at Your Eye Doctor in Mount Pleasant
Glaucoma affects millions of people in the U.S., glaucoma starts developing when the optic nerve located at the back of the eye becomes damaged. About 3 million people have glaucoma, but because the disease causes very few or no symptoms during its early stages, many people don’t realize they’re affected until permanent vision loss occurs. Having regular eye exams with you eye doctor in Mount Pleasant is the best way to diagnose the disease as early as possible before permanent vision loss occurs.
What causes glaucoma?
Most cases of glaucoma occur when the pressure inside the eye (called the intraocular pressure) increases, causing compression on the optic nerve. This nerve extends from the back of the eye to the brain, and it carries vision information about the images you see from the light-sensitive retina to the brain where the information is “interpreted” into images.
Most people have open-angle glaucoma, a progressive disease that develops slowly. Closed-angle glaucoma occurs far more rapidly, requiring emergency care to prevent permanent and sometimes total vision loss. A few people have “low-tension” glaucoma, a disease that develops even though the intraocular pressure remains normal.
Glaucoma Symptoms and Risk Factors
While glaucoma typically causes few noticeable symptoms in its early stages, some patients may experience:
- poor peripheral vision
- blurry vision
- eye pain or chronic redness in the eyes
- halos around lights
Older people - especially those 60 years of age and older - are more likely to develop glaucoma, as are people who have diabetes. Having a family member with glaucoma or being of African descent also increases your risk for the disease.
The Importance of Regular Eye Care in Glaucoma Treatment
Because glaucoma often causes very few symptoms before permanent vision loss occurs, routine eye care including regular eye exams is extremely important in diagnosing the disease, so that we can recommend getting treatment from a specialist as soon as possible.
During the eye exam, the eye doctor will use special drops to dilate your pupil so the back of your eye, including the light-sensitive retina and the optic nerve, can be evaluated. A bright light and special instruments will be used to carefully assess the retina, optic nerve and other structures to look for changes related to glaucoma, and a device called a tonometer will be used to measure the intraocular pressure.
Although we only diagnose glaucoma, generally after diagnoses, an eye doctor prescribes special drops or oral medications to help lower the intraocular pressure. You’ll also need to have eye exams more frequently, which can be done by our optometrist, to ensure the pressure inside the eye remains under control. Most patients respond very well to the regular use of these medications, but in a few cases when medication isn’t enough to lower the intraocular pressure, an eye doctor might recommend a surgical procedure to improve fluid drainage inside the eye.
Prevent Vision Loss And Schedule Your Exam With Us Today
Having regular eye exams is the best way to prevent vision loss from glaucoma and other eye diseases and conditions. As a trusted provider of comprehensive eye care in Mount Pleasant, PA, H. Arnold Papernick OD offers patient-centered care using the most advanced technology and techniques for optimal eye health at every age. Take care of your eyes and your vision. Call H. Arnold Papernick OD at (724) 547-5711 and schedule an eye exam and vision evaluation today.