Although it can occur at any age, glaucoma is one of the leading causes of blindness for people over 60 years old. Jonathan Solan, OD, of Cedar Crest Vision Care, is a highly respected optometrist who screens, diagnoses, and treats glaucoma in patients living in the greater Allentown, Pennsylvania area. In most cases, glaucoma has no warning signs until you experience vision loss. Annual eye exams are the best way to detect glaucoma and successfully treat it in its earliest stages. If it’s been a while since your last eye exam, schedule an appointment by phone or online today.
Glaucoma is a disease that damages your optic nerve if left untreated. Your optic nerve connects your eyeball to your brain, sending messages so you can interpret the images you see. When this nerve becomes damaged, you may experience blurry vision, blind spots, or even permanent blindness.
Although the exact cause of glaucoma is unknown, the disease usually occurs when the fluid in your eye builds up and increases inner eye pressure to an unhealthy level. Although glaucoma is the leading cause of blindness in people over 60 years old, blindness can usually be prevented with early detection and effective glaucoma treatments. This is one reason why annual eye exams are critical to preventing blindness from glaucoma.
Since many types of glaucoma have no symptoms or warning signs, you may not realize you have the disease until you incur damage to your eyesight. The two main types of glaucoma are open-angle glaucoma and acute angle-closure glaucoma, and symptoms include:
If you experience the symptoms of acute angle-closure glaucoma, seek immediate emergency eye care, as the condition can cause blindness if not treated as soon as possible.
Open-angle glaucoma symptoms develop more gradually than acute angle-closure glaucoma. Open-angle glaucoma is the most common form of the condition and occurs gradually when your eye doesn’t drain fluid as quickly as it should, similar to a clogged drain in which the water flows very slowly. Most symptoms are painless, and you may not notice a problem until you begin to have trouble seeing clearly.
During your annual eye exam, Dr. Solan conducts several tests for glaucoma, including one that measures the pressure inside your eyes. He also measures the thickness of your cornea. If he detects abnormal eye pressure, he may prescribe medicated eye drops that help lower your eye pressure so the disease cannot progress as quickly.
Additionally, depending on the type of glaucoma you have, there are laser procedures and surgical treatments that help drain the fluid from your eye and alleviate abnormally high eye pressure. There is no cure for glaucoma, so early detection maximizes your treatment options and enables you to preserve your eyesight for as long as possible.
If you have a family history of glaucoma, you may be at risk. Call to schedule an eye exam or book online.