What is glaucoma?

Glaucoma can be defined as eye pressure within the eye that gradually steals sight without warning and often without symptoms. Glaucoma causes vision loss by damaging the optic nerve. The optic nerve is responsible for carrying the images we see to the brain.

What are the symptoms of glaucoma?

Glaucoma is known as the silent thief of vision. At first, there are no symptoms. Vision stays normal, and there is no pain; however, as the disease progresses, a person with glaucoma may notice his or her side vision gradually failing. That is, objects in front may still be seen clearly, but objects to the side may be missed.

As glaucoma remains untreated, this loss of side vision will gradually progress until one seems to be looking through a tunnel. Over time, straight-ahead vision may decrease until no vision remains.

Glaucoma can develop in one or both eyes.

What causes glaucoma?

It was once thought that high intraocular pressure (IOP) was the main cause of optic nerve damage; however, even people with “normal” IOP can experience vision loss from glaucoma. This would lead us to believe that other factors associated with glaucoma are responsible for vision impairment.

Is glaucoma hereditary?

People with a family history of glaucoma have about a six percent chance of developing glaucoma. Some families have a higher risk.

What treatments are available for glaucoma?

Intraocular pressure can be lowered with medication, usually eye drops. Laser treatment is also very effective as an alternative to eye drops. If these are not successful, glaucoma surgery is usually required.

Have there been any improvements in the eye drop therapies for glaucoma?

Eye drop medications have been improved in recent years, providing patients with more flexibility in their treatment options.

Can glaucoma be reversed or simply managed?

Glaucoma cannot be reversed, but it can be managed and vision maintained with proper treatment and regular eye exams.

Is it important to have regular eye exam appointment if I am diagnosed with glaucoma?

Regular eye exams are critical to managing and treating glaucoma.

If you have been diagnosed with glaucoma or have not been screened for the condition recently, please contact the Eye Surgery Center of Louisiana today to schedule a consultation at one of our New Orleans-area locations, including Metairie, Slidell, Gretna and Bogalusa.

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