Glaucoma affects the optic nerve of the eye. It is actually a group of diseases that can lead to blindness or permanent vision loss. Glaucoma can appear suddenly, without any symptoms, and is often diagnosed once it’s too late for treatments. However, many glaucoma treatments exist, but the fact is that no matter how effective the treatments are, any vision lost before treatment began will not be able to be restored. Therefore, it’s imperative to ensure regular eye appointments are made to detect glaucoma as soon as possible so treatment can begin. This is the only way to control glaucoma.
Open-angle glaucoma has no initial symptoms, including normal vision and a lack of pain. However, if no treatment is provided, a patient will begin to slowly lose their side (or, peripheral) vision. As the glaucoma progresses without treatment, the person may begin to experience tunnel vision — the inability to see objects on the side and out of the corner of the eye. If glaucoma continues to progress past this point, central (or, straight-ahead) vision may continuously decline until total blindness takes over.
Narrow-angle glaucoma is another type of glaucoma that does not present symptoms at first. If someone has a narrow-angle glaucoma ‘attack’, vision can rapidly decline to become permanent. With narrow-angle glaucoma, other symptoms may present, such as headaches, eye pain, halos around lights, tearing, or even vomiting and nausea. This type of glaucoma is sometimes misdiagnosed for migraines.
Early detection is the only way to build a sustainable treatment plan for glaucoma. Regular, comprehensive eye exams are key to catching glaucoma before it’s too late. If glaucoma is caught early and immediately treated, there is a chance that the patient’s vision decline can be delayed, or even prevent the onset of the disease.
Glaucoma can be either genetic or even spontaneous. In some people, glaucoma is caused by a medication taken for another reason.
If you or someone you know could be at-risk for glaucoma or are experiencing vision loss, contact Riverdale Ophthalmology today.