It results from increased pressure in the eye affecting the nerve fiber tissue, loss of signal to the back of the brain (visual cortex), and resulting in visual field loss. Sometimes, some people can also have low tension glaucoma as well.
Risk factor: If a family member has glaucoma, your chance of having glaucoma can increase 5x. It is very gradual loss, The symptoms are varied from none, to minimal.
How is glaucoma treated? The goal of glaucoma treatment is to lower the eye pressure even in cases of low-tension glaucoma. This is can be done with pressure-lowering eye drops. Occasionally laser treatment or surgery has to be considered if the drops prove to be ineffective.
It is important to assess the eye pressure, as well as the optic nerve tissue structure. Both can be done at the Optometrist's office. It is standard practice for optometrists and ophthalmologists to screen all patients over the age of nineteen for glaucoma. It is advisable for all adults to have an eye exam every one to two years to properly screen for glaucoma and other eye diseases.
Dr. Rhee at Mass. Eye and Ear Infirmary sat down and let us know a little more about glaucoma and answer some questions.
January is National Glaucoma Awareness month, have you gotten your eyes checked?
Dr. Yan L. Liang, Bsc OD