Glaucoma is a group of eye conditions that damage the optic nerve, which is vital for good vision. This damage is often caused by an abnormally high pressure in the optic nerve and can lead to irreversible blindness if not detected and treated early.
Glaucoma can occur due to factors such as genetics, age, race, and health conditions. In most cases, there are no early symptoms or pain associated with glaucoma. It develops slowly and often without noticeable sight loss for many years. People may not know that they have the condition until they have significant vision loss.
While glaucoma often shows no symptoms in its early stages, some subtle signs might indicate the onset of the disease. These include mild headaches, difficulty adjusting to dark rooms, or trouble focusing on close-up work. You might also notice that you're squinting or rubbing your eyes more frequently or that you're having difficulty seeing objects at a distance.
Open-angle glaucoma, which is the most common form, often starts by affecting your peripheral vision. You might not notice these blind spots until they're quite large or affecting your central vision.
Acute angle-closure glaucoma can develop rapidly and cause noticeable symptoms. These can include blurry vision, halos around lights, intense eye pain, nausea, and vomiting.
As glaucoma progresses, the symptoms become more severe and noticeable. One of the clear signs of advanced glaucoma is tunnel vision, a phenomenon where you can only see objects that are straight ahead.
Additionally, other signs of advanced glaucoma can include a significant loss of peripheral vision, difficulty seeing in low light, and trouble distinguishing colors. Also, you might find that you're having increased difficulty with tasks that require sharp vision, such as reading or driving, especially at night.
In the case of acute angle-closure glaucoma, symptoms can escalate quickly and become severe. This type of glaucoma is considered a medical emergency and requires immediate attention to prevent permanent vision loss.
The importance of regular eye exams is crucial when it comes to detecting and managing glaucoma. Since the disease often presents no noticeable symptoms in its early stages, regular eye examinations are the best way to catch it before it causes significant damage.
During an eye exam, your optometrist will measure your eye pressure, inspect your eye's drainage angle, examine your optic nerve for damage, test your peripheral vision, and take a picture or computer measurement of your optic nerve. If these tests show signs of glaucoma, your doctor can initiate treatment to help control the disease and prevent vision loss.
Early detection is the key to slowing or preventing the progression of glaucoma. Make sure to maintain regular eye exams, particularly if you're over the age of 40 or have a family history of the disease.
Glaucoma is a serious condition that can lead to irreversible blindness if not detected and treated early. While it may not present noticeable symptoms in its early stages, being aware of the common signs and understanding the importance of regular eye exams can help in early detection and management.
If you are experiencing any symptoms of glaucoma, schedule an eye exam at White Plains Eye Care in our White Plains, New York office. We provide quality solutions for your eye care needs. Call 914-732-1732 to schedule an appointment today.