About Glaucoma, “The Silent Thief of Sight”

Glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness in the world in adults over the age of 60, but this is not the only thing that makes glaucoma dangerous. The truly concerning aspect of this eye disease is that, in most cases, it displays no symptoms until irreparable damage has been done to the vision, making regular eye exams your best option for detecting and treating glaucoma early.

Read on to truly understand what makes glaucoma the “silent thief of sight,” and learn more about the causes, symptoms, and treatments for glaucoma, and how our glaucoma specialists at Buffalo Ophthalmology can help.

What Causes Glaucoma?

Glaucoma is an eye disease that causes the pressure inside of the eye (intraocular pressure, or IOP) to rise. This damages the optic nerve, which connects the eyes to the brain, and leads to an irreversible loss of peripheral (side) vision.

The most common form of glaucoma is called open-angle glaucoma. In this type of glaucoma, pressure inside the eye rises steadily over time, eventually progressing to the point of total vision loss. You may not notice a change in your vision at first, which makes early detection critical to preserving your eyesight, especially if glaucoma runs in your family.

The less common type of glaucoma is called acute angle closure glaucoma, in which the pressure inside the eye rises abruptly, causing severe eye pain and headaches. It is considered a medical emergency and will lead to blindness of not addressed immediately.

Risk Factors for Glaucoma

You may be at an increased risk of glaucoma if you:

  • Have a family history of glaucoma
  • Are over the age of 60
  • Have diabetes, high blood pressure, or heart disease
  • Have suffered physical injuries to the eye

Certain demographics may be at higher risk for glaucoma than others. For example, Black Americans are significantly more likely to suffer from open-angle glaucoma than other populations. They’re also more likely to contract glaucoma earlier and are six times more likely to lose vision from glaucoma. [1]

[1] https://www.glaucoma.org/glaucoma/african-americans-and-glaucoma.php

Treatments for Glaucoma

As previously stated, vision loss from glaucoma is permanent and cannot be reversed. However, if caught in its early stages, its progression can be stalled. Regardless of if you have any of the above risk factors, undergoing a full dilated eye exam every year is your best chance to detect glaucoma early enough to make a difference for your vision.

Medicated eye drops are commonly prescribed by ophthalmologists to help lower your intraocular pressure. Office based laser treatments can also effectively lower the eye’s pressure. Likewise, MIGS, or minimally invasive glaucoma surgery, are operations in which surgical techniques are used to drain fluid and lower IOP. Larger glaucoma surgeries are also available if the disease does not respond to the treatments mentioned above. However, neither of these options will restore vision lost from glaucoma, so early detection is still your best defense against this disease.

Glaucoma Specialists in Buffalo, NY

If you have any questions about glaucoma, or wish to schedule a glaucoma screening with our Buffalo glaucoma specialist, Dr. Deepan Selvadurai, call Buffalo Ophthalmology today at (716) 706-4945 or request an appointment online.

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