> > Article

January is Glaucoma Awareness Month

Today's Vision wants you to know that even for medical eye specialists, glaucoma is a perplexing disease. Eye doctors understand how glaucoma affects your eyes and vision, but the exact cause is not clear and the progression of disease in an individual is not predictable. If you are diagnosed with glaucoma, you should know there are well-established treatments that enable doctors to manage this condition and control its impact on your eyes and vision. You will need to work closely with your doctor and follow the treatment protocols he or she prescribes in order to have the best result for you. Glaucoma has been called “the silent thief of sight.” In most cases of glaucoma, there are no symptoms that the person notices. Researchers estimate that fully half of those who have glaucoma don’t know they have it. If left undiagnosed and untreated, glaucoma will silently damage your optic nerve until you can no longer see. Your best defense against glaucoma is regular visits to a qualified eye doctor who performs a comprehensive eye examination. The comprehensive eye exam includes a check of your intraocular pressure (IOP). This measures the pressure within your eyes. If your IOP is higher than normal, your doctor will order further tests to diagnose glaucoma. There are two types of glaucoma: Primary Open-Angle Glaucoma is by far the most common type of glaucoma. It happens gradually, and is related to the eye’s drainage system. The eye constantly makes a fluid called aqueous humor. If this fluid does not drain out of the eye in a normal fashion, the IOP will increase. Over time, this pressure damages the optic nerve. If you have regular, comprehensive eye exams, the doctor will check your IOP. An elevated IOP identified by an eye doctor is often the only way that glaucoma is detected. Narrow-Angle Glaucoma is less common. It is an acute condition and a true eye emergency. Narrow-Angle Glaucoma occurs when the iris (the colored part of your eye) is located too close to the eye’s drainage system, and blocks normal drainage. You should contact your eye doctor or seek emergency medical care if you experience these symptoms: • Sudden blurred vision • Severe eye pain • Headache • Nausea • Vomiting • Rainbow-colored rings or halos around lights