Glaucoma is a primary cause of blindness, but that doesn't mean you have to lose your sight to it. This disease, an imbalance of intraocular (within the eye) pressure that can do permanent harm to the optic nerves, can often be controlled satisfactorily with today's many medical treatment options. But ensuring that minimal damage can occur in this irreversible condition calls for regular eye exams performed with the necessary technology and skill to detect the disease in its earliest stages. That's why you should rely on Total Eyecare in Elko to help protect your eyes against the threat of glaucoma.
The eye is filled with a fluid known as the aqueous humor, which is maintained at a safe pressure level through an ingenious drainage system. Excess aqueous humor passes through a filter like tissue called the trabecular meshwork, where it then exits the eye by way of the circulatory system. Occasionally, however, a failure somewhere in this drainage process can cause the fluid pressure level to rise beyond normal tolerances. When this happens, the excess pressure can damage the optic nerve. If the damage to the optic nerve becomes too extensive, total blindness in the affected eye is the result.
The principal types of glaucoma include:
• Open-angle glaucoma - Most glaucoma sufferers have this type, which tends to come on gradually as the drainage system grows more and more impaired. Peripheral vision is often affected first, but in the early stages of the disease you may not even notice any vision problems.
• Closed-angle glaucoma - This type of glaucoma is much more sudden and acute in nature that open-angle glaucoma, and it may produce violent symptoms such as pain in the eye, nausea and vomiting. This condition poses an immediate threat to the sight in the eye, so it requires immediate care.
• Secondary glaucoma - If an injury to the eye or some underlying disorder affects your eye's drainage system, you may develop this form of glaucoma.
• Normal-pressure glaucoma - This form of optic nerve damage occurs despite normal fluid pressure in the eye. Its cause is currently unknown.
Total Eyecare's Glaucoma Diagnostic and Treatment Methods
Here at Total Eyecare in Elko, we consider glaucoma testing a standard part of the eye exams you should be scheduling with us every year. Diagnostic methods included in our yearly examinations are tonometry (measuring the intraocular pressure) and peripheral vision screening with our FDT Matrix Perimeter. Digital retinal scanning can also help us examine the optice nerve inside of the eye in great detail; we can even capture a photographic record of what we see. If glaucoma is suspected during your eye examination then more extensive diagnostic testing will be recommended. We have all the equipment needed to properly diagnose and manage glaucoma.
Our optometrist may recommend any of several possible glaucoma treatments. These include eye drops or pills to help increase fluid outflow and/or reduce fluid production, as well as surgical procedures to improve eye drainage if necessary. But the first step is detection -- so schedule your eye exam today! Call us at (775) 738-8491.