Is there a way to know I have glaucoma?
Glaucoma is one name that refers to different types of this ocular disease. The two main types are open-angle glaucoma and angle-closure glaucoma, and they are more common after 40 years old. By the time you are over 80, the risk is even higher – with one in ten people affected. Is there any way to know if you have this disease?
Only one of these types, angle-closure glaucoma (more severe), presents early warning signs that you can detect on your own. Because open-angle glaucoma generally has no symptoms during the beginning stages, a regular eye exam is critical for preventing long-term vision loss! Dr. Matthew Hendrickson, our skilled and compassionate eye doctor in Lombard, uses the latest technology to test your eyes for glaucoma.
Understanding Glaucoma and How It Affects Your Eyes
In this form of the ocular disease, the drainage canals of your eyes are blocked. As a result, fluid accumulates rapidly in your eye and causes a sudden rise in the inner pressure level. An acute attack of acute-closure glaucoma is a medical emergency.
With this type of glaucoma, the angle where the iris and cornea meet is narrow – yet still wide enough for fluid to pass slowly into the drainage canal. However, pressure builds up gradually over the long-term – eventually reaching levels that threaten healthy vision. This is the more common form of the ocular disease.
In both types of glaucoma, the increased pressure can injure your retina and optic nerve, leading to permanent loss of vision. If our Lombard eye doctor diagnoses glaucoma during a complete eye exam, we will recommend immediate treatment. Options for glaucoma treatment include prescription eye drops, oral drugs, laser surgery and microsurgery. When this serious ocular disease is detected and treated early enough, your eye doctor can help prevent retinal damage and vision loss.
How Can I Tell if I Have Glaucoma?
As the second leading cause of blindness worldwide, many people are interested to know how to spot the signs of glaucoma as early as possible! In short, only professional eye exams can indicate and diagnose open-angle glaucoma, yet angle-closure glaucoma does present symptoms that can be painful and clearly noticeable.
You could have open-angle glaucoma for years until a loss of peripheral vision occurs. Once this happens, treatment is more difficult and less successful. Getting your eyes examined regularly (after age 40, at least every two years) is the only reliable way to prevent complications from open-angle glaucoma.
The onset of angle-closure glaucoma can be rapid and can cause damage much more easily. Any of the following symptoms are a red flag that you need to schedule an eye exam with your eye doctor immediately. Don’t delay, or you could lose your eyesight!
- Sudden vision loss
- Narrowed vision (tunnel vision)
- Blurred, hazy vision
- Severe headaches, particularly if you have pain directly behind or in your eyes
- Halos and/or rainbow auras around light
- Nausea and/or vomiting
- Redness in your eye
- Macular Degeneration
Glaucoma cannot be prevented, but it can be controlled when you have an early diagnosis and early treatment. Don’t ignore any of the warning signs, and be sure to book regular eye exams with Dr. Matthew Hendrickson, your experienced Lombard, IL, eye doctor!