Glaucoma is a common cause of visual loss. It affects approximately three million Americans, many of whom are in the early stages and unaware that they are affected. Eye exam are needed to detect glaucoma early and provide treatment that can prevent visual loss.
What is Glaucoma?
Glaucoma is a family of conditions characterized by a premature dying of the optic nerve that sends the visual information from the eye to the brain.
What Causes Glaucoma?
The exact cause of the most common form of glaucoma affecting Americans is unknown. It seems that the optic nerve is programmed to die prematurely. Certain medical conditions may also play a role. In other forms of glaucoma, the structure of certain eyes predisposes them to have a sudden rise in pressure that damages the optic nerve.
What are the symptoms of glaucoma?
In most cases, glaucoma has no symptoms until the late stages when the affected person is nearly blind. Some less common forms of glaucoma have early symptoms that indicate a medical emergency such as visual loss, severe eye pain, headache, nausea and vomiting.
Who is at risk?
Risk factors for glaucoma include:
- Advanced age
- a family history of glaucoma
- African or Hispanic heritage
- Asian heritage
- high eye pressure
- farsightedness or nearsightedness
- those with a previous or current eye injury
- those with diabetes or high blood pressure
How is Glaucoma Diagnosed?
The only way to diagnose glaucoma is by having a comprehensive examination performed by a knowledgeable and experienced clinician.
Visual Field Analyzer- most common test used on patient with glaucoma/ glaucoma suspect patients.