Glaucoma Detection, Testing & Treatment
Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of blindness in the United States, and it affects more than 3 million Americans, with only half knowing that they even have it. Glaucoma is a general term for a family of eye diseases that damages the optic nerve, which will cause a partial or complete loss of vision as it progresses. The optic nerve connects the eyes to the brain allowing us to process our vision. When damage occurs to those nerve cells, loss of vision results. Researchers do not fully understand how glaucoma occurs. We cannot cure glaucoma, but we can manage it very well.
The key to managing this condition is early detection, compliance with treatment plans, and follow-up. The goal of treatment is for the progression of the disease to be delayed or halted. Most of the time, there are no symptoms of glaucoma, which is unfortunate and is one of the more frightening aspects of this disease. The two things that typically bring a patient to an eye doctor (pain and vision loss) are not experienced with glaucoma, at least in its early stages.
Schedule an eye exam in Davidson at Tradewinds Eye Care today to screen for glaucoma.
The first sign of glaucoma depends on who's looking. In fact, early-stage glaucoma often has no symptoms you'll notice, which is why it's so important to be screened for glaucoma on a regular basis.
The first effect most people actually notice is a loss of peripheral vision. This usually starts small, and it can advance slowly enough that you may not realize it's even happening for quite some time. Other symptoms of glaucoma include seeing halos around light, redness in the eye, nausea, vomiting, and severe eye pain.
Some of these symptoms can be caused by other conditions or environmental problems―only a qualified doctor can tell you whether or not something is actually a sign of glaucoma.
Glaucoma can be detected shortly after it begins, but only through a process like a comprehensive dilated eye exam. This is why experts recommend getting a full eye exam every one or two years. Unless your glaucoma progresses abnormally fast, this is frequent enough to catch glaucoma and begin treatment (see below for more on this topic).
Adults should be screened for glaucoma starting at age 20, and vision checks should continue for the rest of your life. This is part of why it's so important to pick a good clinic for your care.
You should also schedule an appointment if you experience any sudden changes in your vision, even if your last appointment was a recent one. Some problems can develop quickly, and the sooner your eyes are checked, the better.
It usually takes several years to go completely blind from glaucoma. However, most people with glaucoma will not go blind from it. According to the Glaucoma Research Foundation, only about 5 percent of people go fully blind from this condition. A higher percentage of people experience at least some noticeable vision loss, but this is rarely severe enough to impair your daily life as long as treatment continues.
There is no permanent cure for glaucoma, but in most cases, it can be controlled in a way that stops further loss of vision. In most cases, treatment involves using a laser or daily eye drops to reduce the pressure inside your eye―this high pressure is the most common cause of glaucoma. Treatment must be continued for life.
However, your unique factors as a patient could affect your treatment plan if you have glaucoma. At Tradewinds Eye Care, we believe in giving customized service to each patient who visits us―and that means explaining your options and why we recommend particular treatments. Protecting your vision is our #1 priority; you shouldn't have to worry about saving your sight. Comprehensive exams and special testing related to glaucoma is most often covered by major medical insurance, as it is considered a medical condition, not a vision issue. If you don’t have insurance, our staff can help with an alternative payment plan that works for your budget. Don't leave glaucoma to chance. Early detection is the best way to protect your vision, so the sooner you schedule your next eye exam, the better. Schedule an eye exam in Davidson today.