Glaucoma is an ocular disease that can harm the optic nerve, which is responsible for carrying visual information to the brain. When neglected, glaucoma will typically lead to permanent blind spots and/or complete blindness. It is almost always due to elevated pressure within the eye from fluid buildup. Glaucoma most often impacts individuals over the age of 60. Right now, about two million people in this country have glaucoma, many of whom don't realize they have it. Initially, glaucoma doesn't have any noticeable symptoms and it is often referred to as the “silent thief." While science hasn't developed a cure for glaucoma, it can be managed through early diagnosis and appropriate treatments. Conditions, like glaucoma, are a major reason why undergoing comprehensive eye exams at least every other year is imperative to your total eye health. At Cataract & Refractive Institute of Florida, board-certified ophthalmologist Dr. James Croley utilizes state-of-the-art diagnostic tools and advanced management techniques to treat glaucoma. We invite you to call us at our Cape Coral, FL practice to arrange your comprehensive eye exam and get ahead of managing your ocular health.
Symptoms of Glaucoma
The different types of glaucoma frequently present no symptoms in their early stages. Nonetheless, each type could also cause one or more symptoms that feel minor or extreme. When glaucoma starts to get worse, people usually initially notice things, like decreasing peripheral vision, dimmed vision, eye fatigue, and bloodshot eyes. As glaucoma progresses, symptoms often start to include pronounced glare, loss of all but central vision, vomiting, and eye discomfort. As glaucoma doesn't generally have any symptoms in the early stages, scheduling regular comprehensive eye exams is extremely important in diagnosing it early enough to manage vision loss.
Causes of Glaucoma
All cases of glaucoma are due to damage to the optic nerve. Almost always, this deterioration is the result of increased internal eye pressure from eye fluid retention. In healthy eyes, the fluid required by the eye tissue can flow in via a unique tissue, the trabecular meshwork, which exists between the iris and the cornea. In all cases, this movement can be blocked or significantly slowed, which results in fluid buildup.
The most well-known kinds of glaucoma are determined according to the condition of the trabecular meshwork and the width of the space between the cornea and iris. When the fluid buildup occurs because of a problem inside the trabecular meshwork, it is called open-angle glaucoma. In contrast, if the retention is happening due to the width of space between the iris and cornea, this is known as narrow- or closed-angle glaucoma. Scientific studies have shown that glaucoma caused by internal eye pressure is often inherited. Other than heredity and the aging process, additional factors that might increase intraocular pressure include long-term use of corticosteroid eye drops, very thin corneal tissue, being of certain ethnic descent, and having certain medical conditions, for example, high blood pressure. It is important to note that glaucoma can be caused by problems other than eye pressure. In these instances, it is considered secondary glaucoma, as it is a symptom of a separate underlying condition.
Glaucoma Explained Diagnosis
Dr. Croley performs multiple tests to find out whether a person has glaucoma. Every one of these tests is very comfortable, simple, and fast. First, he will use eye drops are used to anesthetize the eye. As soon as the eye drops come into effect, Dr. Croley will begin doing the tests. These will include calculating the pressure inside the eye (tonometry) and the corneal thickness (pachymetry), looking at the size of the angle between the iris and cornea (gonioscopy), evaluating and recording the condition of the optic nerve, checking the patient’s peripheral vision, and testing for any regions of vision loss.
If a glaucoma diagnosis is made, there are multiple treatments available to successfully manage it. All of these techniques focus on decreasing internal eye pressure to prevent further harm to the optical nerve. Many patients who are in the beginning stages of glaucoma can often delay or interrupt their vision loss by controlling glaucoma with prescription eye drops. For those whose disease has progressed further, more extensive treatments, including MIGS (minimally invasive glaucoma surgery), laser procedures, and traditional glaucoma surgery, can potentially alleviate the condition. Whether we provide these treatments or opt to refer the patient to a trusted specialist, the Cataract & Refractive Institute of Florida team is committed to determining the most effective solutions for our patients' personalized ocular healthcare.
Take Control of Glaucoma
At the Cataract & Refractive Institute of Florida, we frequently meet with patients living with glaucoma to help them manage their condition. It’s important to know that receiving a diagnosis and treatment in the early stages can allow you to keep your glaucoma under control. Dr. Croley recommends that any person who has possible symptoms, a family history of glaucoma, or who has already been diagnosed with glaucoma to schedule a consultation at his Cape Coral, FL facility. Patients can also visit us at our clinic locations in Lehigh Acres and Bonita Springs.