GET HELP MANAGING GLAUCOMA TODAY
Glaucoma is a prevalent eye disease that develops over the course of years, and could possibly lead to blindness. At Maryland Eye Care Center, we can detect the signs of glaucoma, as well as offer the proper treatment to help safeguard your vision.
The first step towards protecting your eyes from glaucoma is an eye exam. Please, book an appointment with us today, so we can give you the help you deserve. We treat glaucoma in Downtown Silver Spring, Silver Spring, and Hyattsville.
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WHAT IS GLAUCOMA?
Glaucoma is an eye disease that usually develops asymptomatically. It is slow and insidious in its development until it permanently damages your vision, earning the name “the Silent Thief of Sight.”
Glaucoma damages your optic nerve, usually due to raised intraocular eye pressure (IOP). But this isn’t the case for all types of glaucoma, such as normal tension glaucoma, where the IOP is within the normal range.
The only way to detect glaucoma is through a comprehensive eye exam. Some of the examination techniques your eye doctor will use include:
- Evaluating your optic nerves.
- Inspecting the drainage angle of your eyes.
- Assessing your eyes’ IOP levels.
- Observing the quality of your peripheral vision through a visual field test.
- Measuring the thickness of your corneas.
The most common types of glaucoma are:
Open-angle glaucoma is the most common form of the disease. It develops slowly, over the course of years, as raised IOP levels damage your optic nerve. This occurs because too much fluid is being produced, or not enough fluid is being drained through the drainage canals in the eye.
The chronic increase in IOP can cause permanent damage to your optic nerve and loss of vision.
Closed-angle glaucoma, or angle-closure glaucoma, is less common than open-angle glaucoma but can be far more severe. Closed-angle glaucoma can develop when the drainage angle between your iris and cornea becomes blocked or closed altogether, resulting in a rapid rise in IOP levels.
When this happens, you can experience eye pain, headaches, nausea, and sudden vision loss. Because of this, closed-angle glaucoma is considered to be a medical emergency. If you suddenly start experiencing these symptoms, contact your eye care professional immediately.
Normal-tension glaucoma is a form of glaucoma that can develop without your IOP levels rising. Factors such as poor blood flow to your optic nerve may be a contributor. Fortunately, your eye doctor can detect it by observing your optic nerve.
Various factors may put you at a greater risk of developing glaucoma:
- Age. People over the age of 50 have a higher chance of developing glaucoma.
- Family history of the disease. Those with relatives that have glaucoma are considered to be at a higher risk of developing it themselves.
- Race. Research has shown that African Americans and Asians have a higher chance of developing glaucoma.
- Medical conditions. Certain conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure have been linked to an increased chance of developing glaucoma.
- Physical eye injury. Eye injuries have been linked to a rise in IOP levels.
- Corticosteroid use. Corticosteroids, like cortisone or prednisone, could put you at risk for developing glaucoma.
Annual eye exams are recommended by most eye care professionals, but if you are at a higher risk for glaucoma, they are even more important in order to protect your eyes.
Depending on the severity of your glaucoma and how early your doctors detect the disease, you may only require topical medications to manage your IOP. These drops may include one or a combination of:
- Prostaglandins. These help increase the flow of fluids from your eye.
- Beta-blockers. These help lower the production of fluids in your eye.
- Alpha-adrenergic agonists. These reduce the production of aqueous humor and help increase the outflow of fluids from your eye.
- Carbonic anhydrase inhibitors. These help lower the production of fluids in your eye.
- Rho kinase inhibitor. These can help lower eye pressure.
- Miotic or cholinergic agents. These help increase the flow of fluid from your eye.
Your eye doctor will be able to determine the best medication for you to treat your glaucoma and maintain your sight.
If needed, your eye doctor will recommend surgical solutions to help manage your glaucoma. Some of these could include:
- Laser trabeculoplasty. This is a type of surgery that uses lasers to unblock your trabecular meshwork.
- Trabeculectomy. This is a procedure whereby a small incision is created in the sclera to drain fluids to help reduce IOP levels.
For the best treatment options for you, be sure to speak to your eye care professional.
SAFEGUARD YOUR EYES TODAY
Glaucoma doesn’t have to mean the end of your sight. Please, book an appointment with us today, and let us provide you with the best glaucoma care possible.
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