Many of the conditions that affect the eye can be treated to preserve vision. Cataracts can be removed when vision becomes too cloudy, blurriness at a distance or up close may be corrected with eyeglasses or with refractive eye surgery. There is one condition that isn’t quite as easy on the eyes. Here, we’d like to talk about the nature of glaucoma that you need to know about.
What is glaucoma?
Glaucoma is a disease in which an increase in intraocular pressure, or pressure in the eye, occurs. When pressure increases in the eye, the optic nerve suffers compression. Because light needs to transfer through the optic nerve to reach the brain, nerve compression is a critical issue. If we have any chance to prevent this, we want to, because vision loss attributed to compression of the optic nerve cannot be reversed.
Sneaking up on Your Sight
At the moment, there is no clear way to prevent glaucoma from developing. There is, however, a way to manage intraocular pressure, so vision loss becomes less of a threat. The problem is, open-angle glaucoma is very sneaky. Most people don’t see it coming because the only symptom of this type of glaucoma is vision loss.
An interesting, and promising, aspect of open-angle glaucoma is that the pressure that affects the optic nerve tends to diminish vision at its outermost edges. When you observe objects, you usually do so by looking straight at them. You may rarely if ever, notice what you can see from the outer corners of your eyes without turning your head. This outer vision is called peripheral vision. It is the vision that is the first to go when glaucoma develops.
Another characteristic of glaucoma that makes diagnosis a challenge is that the loss of vision may occur over years of time. The deterioration of peripheral vision slowly expands inward and, at some point, vision loss becomes apparent.
Don’t wait for this sign.
It is possible to treat glaucoma and manage the pressure on the optic nerve. When we do this, vision can be preserved for years. Today, we have excellent screening protocols that help us catch signs of increased eye pressure quickly. Schedule a visit to Aloha Eye Clinic in Kihei or Wailuku to obtain a thorough evaluation of your eyes and vision.