Discover what causes glaucoma and what treatments help prevent blindness in Laguna Hills, CA
More than 3 million cases of glaucoma are diagnosed annually in the United States. This condition mainly impacts adults over the age of 40. With such high numbers, you may be wondering what causes glaucoma and what treatments are available. For patients near Laguna Hills, CA Dr. George Salib at Orange County Eye Institute offers treatment options for eye conditions including glaucoma.
Glaucoma is a disease that damages the eye’s optic nerve. The optic nerve sends images to the brain. Fluid in the eye usually flows out through a mesh-like channel. However, if this channel becomes blocked, fluid builds up. When extra fluid builds up in the front of the eye, it places pressure on the nerve. Generally both eyes are affected, but one eye can be worse.
Risk factors that may increase the likelihood of glaucoma include the following:
- Genetics or a family history of glaucoma
- Conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, or sickle cell anemia
- Poor vision or an eye injury
- Thin corneas
- High eye pressure
- Steroid medications
TREATMENTS TO PREVENT BLINDNESS
Eye examinations at every age and every life stage can keep your vision strong. In addition to evaluating the quality of your vision, examinations check for eye diseases or problems that could lead to vision loss. To keep your eyes healthy and maintain your quality of vision, the American Optometric Association (AOA) recommends a comprehensive eye examination every other year for adults between the ages of 18 and 60 and annual eye exams for adults over the age of 60. Certain job requirements, drugs, or health conditions such as high blood pressure or diabetes may result in needing more frequent exams.
For many patients, there are no symptoms or pain in the earliest stages of glaucoma. This is why regular exams are crucial. Tests for glaucoma are relatively quick and painless. Without treatment, glaucoma worsens over time. It is a cause of blindness in patients over 60. Blindness can be prevented when caught early through regular examinations and a quality treatment plan.
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Losing your vision can not be reversed. However, treatments can relieve the pressure on the eye to salvage your vision. Treatment options for glaucoma may depend on the patient’s needs and the severity of the condition. Recommendations may include the following:
- Eye drops – The goal of eye drops is to lessen the pressure on the eye. Drops may help either lower the creation of fluid or increase the flow back out of the eye.
- Oral medication – Certain medications such as beta-blockers or carbonic anhydrase inhibitors may improve drainage or reduce the amount of fluid in the eye.
- Laser surgery – There are different surgical options depending on the type of glaucoma you may have. Treatments may involve opening the drainage area, improving fluid flow, or treating the middle layer of the eye to to lower fluid production.
- Microsurgery – Through a trabeculectomy, a new channel is created to allow drainage and ease eye pressure.