Your vision is something that you never want to take for granted. The sense of sight is so powerful that it dictates how you react to different circumstances. It is so powerful that it can override all your other senses, causing you to believe what you see as opposed to what you hear, feel, smell or touch.
Glaucoma is a very serious and complicated disease that affects the optic nerve. It is the number two cause of blindness. The effects of the disease are irreversible, progressive and lead to vision loss.
The optic nerve is what your body uses to carry images from the retina to the brain. The optic nerve is what gives humans the ability to see. When a person has glaucoma, pressure builds up in their eyes and destroys the delicate nerve fibers that work with the optic nerve.
As these fibers are damaged, an individual’s field of vision is reduced. They will begin to have blind spots in their vision. When the optic nerve has been damaged to the point that a visual loss has occurred, the damage is permanent. Unfortunately, most people do not realize that they have these blind spots until their optic nerve has been severely damaged.
Once the entire nerve is destroyed, a person is permanently blind. Early detection and early treatment by a professional are essential in trying to prevent the vision damage caused by glaucoma.
What Causes Glaucoma?
Doctors are still learning about the correlation between glaucoma and optic nerve damage. What they do know is that pressure built up in the eye leads to a mechanical compression of the nerve, or it can lead to a decrease in the amount of blood that flows to the nerve. While the majority of patients with the disease have high blood pressure, many of them have normal blood pressure.
There are two primary types of glaucoma:
- Open Angle – This is the leading form. It is caused by the open drainage angle of the eye becoming blocked. As a result, pressure builds up and damages the optic nerve. With this type, vision loss is so slow and so painless that most people are not aware of it until the damage is extensive.
- Angle Closure – With this form, the drainage angle of the eye becomes thinner and is then blocked completely. When this blockage occurs, the pressure builds up quickly in the eye. As a result, a person feels severe pain, blurred vision and a headache. Some may even start to have nausea and vomiting.
Other types include exfoliation syndrome, pigmentary, glaucoma caused by eye tumors, glaucoma caused by eye injuries, congenital and glaucoma caused by other diseases.
When symptoms of glaucoma are present, it often means that irreversible optic nerve damage has been done. However, there are some warning signs that may allow a person to catch it early. These include:
- Excessively watery eyes
- Change of iris color
- Sensitivity to light
- Seeing spots and ghost images
- Encrusted or swollen eyelids
- Pain in or around the eyes
Contact Our Office Today
At Live Oak Ophthalmology, treatment for the condition will vary depending on the severity of the case and the nature of it, amongst other factors. While it cannot be cured, it can be controlled with proper treatment. Schedule a consultation at our office in Wilmington to learn more about how your condition can be improved. Contact us today to book your appointment!