It was once thought that high eye pressure was the main cause of this optic nerve damage. Although eye pressure is clearly a risk factor, we now know that other factors must also be involved because even people with “normal” IOP (intraocular pressure) can experience vision loss from glaucoma.
One of the biggest challenges with glaucoma is that it can be very stealthy–many people may not experience symptoms until the disease has significantly damaged the eye. That’s why regular eye examinations are important, particularly as you get older. Your physician can often identify eye problems before symptoms may occur, and put you on a road to treatment that can preserve your vision.
There are several types of glaucoma, but two major ones, primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG) and angle-closure glaucoma (ACG). In primary open-angle glaucoma, the eye’s drainage canals become clogged over time, causing pressure to build up. Because the disease is gradual, many people experience no symptoms at all until it’s too late to correct damage. Again, a glaucoma test during a routine eye exam can spot the disease early when they’re still the opportunity to address it.
In angle-closure glaucoma, the blockage of drainage from the eye occurs suddenly, and requires immediate medical attention. When this type of glaucoma is present, there are symptoms. These can include:
- Hazy or blurred vision
- The appearance of rainbow-colored circles around bright lights
- Severe eye and head pain
- Nausea or vomiting (accompanying severe eye pain)
- Sudden sight loss
Should you or a member of your family experience symptoms like these, seek immediate medical help from an emergency room or your eye care physician.
The best course of action to avoid problems from glaucoma is to have regular eye examinations. Anyone over the age of 50 should schedule an eye exam every two years.
To schedule yours, call us at (865) 584-0905.