If you have been diagnosed with glaucoma, you should consider treatment immediately. This chronic eye disease causes progressive vision loss, and, when left untreated, can lead to total permanent blindness. According to the World Health Organization, it is the second leading cause of irreversible blindness worldwide. In American, it affects 3 million people aged 40 and older. With lifestyle changes, medication, or surgery, vision loss caused by glaucoma can be halted.
How does glaucoma cause vision loss?
The ciliary tissues surrounding our eyes secrete a clear, gelatinous liquid called aqueous humor. The liquid then circulates between anterior and posterior segments, delivering glucose and other important nourishment to the lens and cornea. The aqueous humor also helps maintain the shape of the eye. The fluid must be at the correct pressure to maintain eye health. If not, problems happen, such as glaucoma.
In glaucoma patients, the fluid doesn’t drain out of the anterior chamber quickly enough. As a result, fluid builds up and increases intraocular pressure. The increased intraocular pressure damages the eye’s optic nerves, leading to vision loss.
How do I know if I have glaucoma?
In most cases, the disease progresses painlessly. Because of this, Dr. Amjad Khokhar, head eye surgeon of Houston LASIK & Eye, likens glaucoma to a thief. It is quite. It robs you or your eyesight gradually and relentlessly, but you don’t realize it until you notice changes in your vision, such as blind spots and tunnel vision. When symptoms happen, that means most of the nerve fibers have been damaged and a large part of the vision has been destroyed.
An eye, however, can detect high IOP before it progresses to optic nerve damage and vision loss. This is why it is important to have a regular eye checkup. Anyone can get glaucoma, but some people are at a higher risk. This includes those with:
- a family history of glaucoma
- high blood pressure
- African or Asian ancestry
- previous ocular trauma
- history of steroid (cortisone drugs) use
Glaucoma medication eye drops such as timolol and carteolol are usually the first choice in treating the disease. If eye drops are not sufficient in controlling IOP, your eye doctor may also prescribe pills. Glaucoma can also be treated successfully with traditional surgery (trabeculectomy) and laser eye surgery (trabeculoplasty).
What can I expect from my glaucoma treatment?
Unfortunately, damage caused by glaucoma is irreversible. A glaucoma treatment can only stop further loss of vision, but it cannot recover what has been lost.
Can I get LASIK if I have glaucoma?
Because of the high success rate of laser-in situ assisted keratomileusis, many glaucoma patients are curious if they can have LASIK to treat their nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism. Unfortunately, Houston eye doctors do not recommend refractive surgery to patients with moderate to advanced glaucoma because elevated eye pressure poses additional complications. However, those with mild forms of glaucoma and eye health to determine if you are a candidate.
Houston LASIK & Eye leads in providing premium LASIK technologies to Houston, Sugar Land, and the surrounding region. The Center’s award-winning medical director introduced revolutionary technologies such as iLASIK to the region. This technology is used by NASA astronauts, Navy SEALS and Air Force fighter pilots. At Houston LASIK & Eye, you can now receive the same treatment. For more information, please call (281) 240-0478.