Glaucoma is a serious condition in which damage to the eye’s optic nerve can lead to vision loss. More specifically, it is a collection of eye conditions that damage the optic nerve. The health of the optic nerve is critical for good vision. Most of the damage results from excessive pressure in the eye.
This condition is one of the leading causes of blindness for older individuals. However, it can affect people of any age. Unfortunately, most forms of glaucoma do not have warning signs in the early stages. Its effects are so slow that most people may not notice a change in their vision until the condition is at an advanced stage.
Since vision loss resulting from this condition is irreversible, it is important to go for regular eye examinations. These examinations should include a measurement of the pressure in your eye. This will help the eye specialist diagnose whether you have glaucoma in its early stages. Consequently, he or she will be able to treat it appropriately. Early diagnosis can prevent or slow down glaucoma; however, you will generally need lifelong treatment.
The symptoms and signs of glaucoma will vary depending on the stage and type of your condition. Chronic open-angle, open-angle, and primary open-angle glaucoma are all names for the most common type of glaucoma. If you have this condition, you may not experience any symptoms until you notice a significant amount of vision loss. You will first notice the gradual loss of your side vision, also referred to as peripheral vision.
Most people with this form of glaucoma often experience excruciating eye pain, and symptoms tend to appear quickly. Some of these symptoms include:
Nausea and vomiting
Severe throbbing eye pain
Seeing halos around lights
Foggy or blurry vision
Frequent headaches on one side of the affected eye
If left untreated, this type of glaucoma will lead to loss of vision. Some people with this condition, even with treatment, will become blind in at least one eye within two decades. This makes this condition a medical emergency, which requires patients to go to an emergency room immediately. Damage to your optic nerve may begin within a few hours and cause blindness if not treated as soon as possible.
This type of glaucoma often affects newborns and toddlers. Symptoms include frequent rubbing of the eyes and keeping eyes closed most of the time. Also, sensitivity to light, squinting, eyelid spasms, and tearing are additional symptoms. Clouding of the cornea and an abnormally large cornea are also symptoms of the condition.
Regular eye examinations are the best form of prevention against this condition. Early diagnosis and vigilant, lifelong treatment can help maintain most people’s vision. Generally, people should check for glaucoma every two to four years before they hit 40 years of age. Between the ages of 40 years and 54 years, they should do it every one to three years. Older adults, especially those above the age of 65, should check for glaucoma every six to 12 months.
Learn more about the signs of glaucoma and how to prevent it, contact Tri-City Optometry in Fremont, CA at (510) 602-2020 to schedule an appointment.