For Glaucoma Awareness Month, we Focus on a Silent Thief
- Posted on: Jan 15 2019
Glaucoma is a family of eye diseases that scientists have studied for many years. Still, this particular condition presents unique challenges to patients and their care providers. During this month of national glaucoma awareness, we seek to raise increase our patients’ knowledge regarding the dangers of glaucoma and ways we can work together to prevent vision loss.
Statistics indicate that glaucoma is a global problem. It has been predicted that as many as 79 million people in the world will be affected by glaucoma by 2020 – that’s right around the corner. At the moment, glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness, coming in right after cataracts. The reason may be twofold. Glaucoma is common because a large percentage of the population is aging, and the risk of this eye disease increases with age. Second, glaucoma is a leading cause of blindness because there are often no symptoms of disease until vision becomes disrupted.
The Progression of Glaucoma
It is vital to see glaucoma as a group of progressive eye diseases. The main characteristic of this eye disease is degeneration of the retinal ganglion cells. The cellular changes that take place in the retina then affect the head of the optic nerve, leading to vision loss. Also, loss of retinal ganglion cells may relate to several factors, including genetics, age, ocular pressure, and corticosteroid use.
Initially, people with early-stage glaucoma may lose a degree of vision in the nasal visual field (toward the nose). Disruption may not be detected, though, because the visual field of the other eye compensates for this loss.
Some people who start to develop glaucoma also experience elevated intraocular pressure, the pressure within the eye. Depending on the level of intraocular pressure, a person may be categorized as a glaucoma suspect, meaning their eye health does not warrant a glaucoma diagnosis but that their eye doctor may want to monitor their eye health more closely.
The only way to treat glaucoma effectively is to reduce the pressure inside the eye. Historically, this has been achieved with specific medications. Several pharmaceutical drugs now exist and have demonstrated efficacy in slowing or halting the progression of glaucoma by lowering intraocular pressure.
At Roholt Vision Institute, we use the latest technologies such as a 3D rendering of the optic nerve to diagnose. Our screening methods seek to obtain detailed information as quickly as possible so treatment for intraocular pressure can begin as soon as medically necessary.
Learn more about your eye health and glaucoma treatment by calling our Canfield, North Canton, or Alliance office.
Posted in: Glaucoma