Glaucoma is an eye condition that damages the optic nerve, which is essential for healthy vision. The best way to protect your sight is to get tested, which the American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends once every two years. Here at the Kagan Institute in California in Encino and Los Angeles, we provide testing and extensive treatment options for patients suffering from various ocular ailments, including glaucoma.
What Is Glaucoma?
Glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness in the United States and the leading cause of blindness for people over 60 years old, accounting for 9% to 12% of all cases. Approximately 3 million Americans suffer from the condition, but only half are aware they have it.
The disease is caused by a buildup of fluid in the eye causing too much intraocular pressure (IOP). This pressure damages the optic nerve (the nerve of sight) by limiting the supply of blood to the nerve.
The optic nerve connects your eye to your brain, carrying visual information to the latter for processing. As the nerve is damaged, you slowly lose your peripheral vision first, which can be difficult to notice over time. If untreated, the vision loss creeps in toward the center, causing tunnel vision and eventual blindness.
Different Types of Glaucoma
The most common form is Primary Open Angle, which happens gradually when the eye does not drain fluid as well as it should, causing increased IOP. Some symptoms include:
● Patchy blind spots in your side (peripheral) or central vision, frequently in both eyes
● Tunnel vision in the advanced stages
The second most common type is Primary Angle Closure, which happens when the iris blocks the drainage angle in the eye. When it is completely blocked, pressure rises very quickly. This is called an acute attack and should be treated immediately. Some symptoms include:
● Severe headache
● Eye pain
● Nausea and vomiting
● Blurred vision
● Halos around lights
● Eye redness
Do I Suffer From Glaucoma?
The cause of glaucoma is unknown, though several risk factors increase your chances of developing the condition. These include high eye pressure (IOP), older age, being African-American, Hispanic, or Asian, and having a family history of the disease. Regular eye examinations are especially important for people who are predisposed to developing glaucoma.
What Kinds of Treatments Are Available?
While there is no cure for glaucoma (yet), we can halt further loss of vision with medication or surgery. Because the damage is irreversible, it’s essential to diagnose the disease as early as possible.
Treatment often starts with prescription eye drops that help relieve eye pressure by improving the way fluid drains from your eye or decreasing the amount of fluid your eye makes. Oral medications, usually a carbonic anhydrase inhibitor, can help relieve IOP. Other treatments available include laser therapy and different surgical procedures.
Get Help Today
Glaucoma can be scary, so we’d like to help you treat it safely and efficiently. Dr. Kagan’s extensive experience and patient-first philosophy will provide you with excellent care.
For more information, contact us today at Kagan Institute to schedule your consultation. Dr. Arkady Kagan and his professional staff proudly serve California with Encino and Los Angeles. We’re happy to answer any questions, and we look forward to helping you receive the right treatment for you.