Glaucoma actually refers to a group of disorders that cause damage to the optic nerve and can lead to vision loss and eventual blindness. It is estimated that there are approximately 65 million people worldwide who have visual impairment due to glaucoma. Researchers indicate that up to half of those affected may not know they have glaucoma because symptoms typically do not occur during the early stages of the disease.
Risk factors for glaucoma include a family history of the disease, diabetes, eye injuries and a history of eye surgeries. The incidence of glaucoma is much higher among African Americans. Glaucoma is also one of the leading causes of blindness among Hispanics in the United States.
The most common form of glaucoma is called open-angle glaucoma. It occurs in 95% glaucoma cases. It develops because the pressure in the eye is too high. Open-angle glaucoma is painless and typically progresses slowly. If not treated, it can lead to total blindness.
Another form of glaucoma known as normal tension occurs far less frequently. In normal tension glaucoma, damage to the optic nerve occurs even when eye pressure is in the “normal” range.
Closed-angle, or acute, glaucoma is an emergency situation where the eye's fluid drainage is suddenly blocked. Closed angle glaucoma typically results from an injury and can cause nausea and vomiting, feelings of dizziness and blurred vision.
There is currently no cure for glaucoma, but it is often very treatable when diagnosed early. Various medications are available and surgery can be performed to reduce eye pressure. At our clinic we have some of the latest technology used to diagnose and monitor glaucoma. Our digital retinal imaging, OCT technology and visual field testing allow our doctors to very closely monitor all forms of glaucoma and prescribe the best treatment to preserve your vision.