Glaucoma is a condition of increased pressure within the eyeball that causes vision loss over time. Researchers estimate that more than three million Americans have glaucoma, although many are unaware of the condition. Glaucoma is generally progressive, and many patients discover the disease as it begins to interfere with sight. When treated early, vision loss can be minimized.
There are several types of glaucoma, but the vast majority of glaucoma cases are either open-angle glaucoma or angle-closure glaucoma. Open angle, or primary glaucoma accounts for about 90 percent of glaucoma cases. Please call (845) EYE-CARE to schedule a glaucoma screening with one of our experienced Highland eye doctors today.
Open-Angle Glaucoma Defined
Primary glaucoma, or open angle glaucoma, refers to the angle between the iris and cornea of the eye. In open angle glaucoma, the angle is as wide as it should be, but the drainage canals of the eye become blocked over time. This causes the fluid of the eye to circulate improperly and build pressure. As the pressure increases, the optic nerve is damaged, leading to vision loss. Here are the characteristics of open angle glaucoma:
- Caused by blocked drainage canals within the eye, resulting in increased pressure
- Wide angle between the iris and cornea (unlike angle-closure glaucoma)
- Progressive condition that is not curable, but treatable
- Slow to develop and may go unnoticed for some time
- May cause complete blindness if left untreated
- No obvious symptoms until it is advanced
If you have a family history of glaucoma, are diabetic, are very nearsighted, or are over 40, you may be at risk for glaucoma. Glaucoma is more common among African Americans. Because glaucoma progresses silently, regular screenings are critical to catching the disease in the early stages when it is highly treatable.
Most patients with Primary Open Angle Glaucoma have an increase in Intraocular Pressure (IOP) upon routine measurement, called Tonometry. This increased Intraocular Pressure (IOP) results from either too much Aqueous Humor being produced or too little being drained as mentioned earlier. This fluid buildup within the closed space of the inside of the eye causes the pressure to rise. This elevation in pressure (IOP) causes the blood flow in the Optic Nerve to become decreased, depriving it of oxygen and nutrients.
When left untreated this can result in permanent changes and damage to the optic nerve resulting in vision loss. The optic nerve is the connection between the retina and the brain and is responsible for communicating visual images. Once the optic nerve is damaged, it is not able to carry visual images, resulting in vision loss. This is why it is so important to monitor, detect and control Intraocular Pressure (IOP). If left untreated, an elevated Intraocular Pressure (IOP) may, over time, cause slow progressive, permanent damage to the Optic Nerve that can result in blindness.
To schedule a glaucoma screening as part of a thorough eye exam, please contact Seeta Eye at (845) EYE-CARE today. We gladly serve patients from Highland, Poughkeepsie & Yorktown Heights, and the surrounding areas of Hudson Valley.