Apr 23

Glaucoma and Blindness: Learn the Facts

Posted on April 23, 2020 — by Eric Del Piero

Image of running children shows effects of peripheral vision lossGlaucoma is a progressive eye disease that results from impaired drainage of the fluids that help the eyes maintain their shape. Glaucoma is not preventable, but it can be treated and managed through non-invasive means at Monterey County Eye Associates, serving Salinas, CA, and Monterey, CA.        

Over time, glaucoma can lead to vision loss and even blindness. To prevent irreversible damage to your vision, our doctors recommend regular eye exams to check for signs of glaucoma or other dangerous eye conditions.

How Can Glaucoma Cause Blindness?

Around 2.3 million Americans have some type of glaucoma, according to the Glaucoma Research Foundation. Of those cases, around 10 percent result in sight impairment and five percent result in blindness.

The exact cause of blindness in people who have glaucoma is unclear, but eye pressure appears to play a significant role in damaging the optic nerve. Another theory is that glaucoma impairs blood flow in a manner that leads to nerve damage. What is certain is that untreated glaucoma damages the retinal ganglion cells that connect to the optic nerve.

Are Some Types of Glaucoma More Serious than Others?

Left untreated, any type of glaucoma can lead to permanent vision loss. Some types of glaucoma are a more urgent threat that can lead to blindness more quickly.

Acute angle-closure glaucoma can lead to a rapid increase in intraocular pressure. This condition results when the eye’s drainage system becomes blocked. The sudden rise in pressure leads to severe eye pain and the need for emergency medical care. Symptoms of acute glaucoma include blurred vision, headaches, eye pain, and nausea.

Chronic open-angle glaucoma is the most common form of this eye disease. The symptoms of chronic glaucoma set in slowly, and that’s why this type of glaucoma can be so damaging. Individuals who suffer from this condition may not notice the symptoms for years.

Since some types of glaucoma can go unnoticed, we encourage our patients to schedule regular eye exams at Monterey County Eye Associates so one of our eye doctors can look for early symptoms and signs of glaucoma.

Lower Your Risk of Eye Damage

Advanced age and a family history of glaucoma are leading risk factors for this eye disease. The National Eye Institute recommends annual eye exams to screen for glaucoma starting at age 60. The doctors of Monterey County Eye Associates are trained to look for the symptoms of glaucoma. During a diagnostic exam, we can test the intraocular pressure of your eyes.

If one of our doctors does identify the signs of glaucoma, the condition can be managed clinically with medicines and laser surgery.

Regular eye exams are your best tool for preventing glaucoma-related blindness. Common symptoms of glaucoma include loss of peripheral vision and eye pain.

If you notice any change in visual perception or eye pain, let our office know immediately. You may be experiencing an eye emergency that requires urgent treatment.

Prevent Irreversible Vision Loss - Schedule Your Eye Exam Today

Glaucoma is not preventable, but you can prevent its damaging effects. Regular exams at Monterey County Eye Associates can diagnose the early stages of glaucoma before the disease causes permanent damage to your vision. To schedule your next exam, please contact our office online or call (831) 375-2020.

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