What is Glaucoma?
Glaucoma is a group of progressive eye diseases affecting millions of people across the globe. It is the leading cause of preventable vision loss and blindness in adults in the United States and Canada and the second leading cause of blindness in the world.
Glaucoma: Everything You Need to Know
Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases that cause gradual damage of the optic nerve. This deterioration occurs through the buildup of pressure inside the eye. This pressure is called intraocular pressure (IOP) and it can damage the optic nerve if the pressure level is excessively high.
The optic nerve is an essential element of the visual system because it transmits nerve signals from the retina to the brain. The brain translates these nerve signals into images, allowing you to understand the things you see. When the optic nerve has been damaged, it causes a disruption in the flow of messaging to the brain, which in turn, makes it hard for the brain to interpret the images in your visual field. When that happens, vision loss occurs.
Primary Open Angle Glaucoma (POAG) is the most prevalent form of glaucoma. The first sign of POAG is usually high intraocular pressure (IOP). A balanced level of IOP maintains proper structure of the eye, nurturing and supporting the cornea. When the IOP rises to an unhealthy high level, it causes damage to the optic nerve. When glaucoma is diagnosed at an early stage, it can generally be managed well enough to prevent further deterioration of vision loss or blindness. However, in far too many cases, the signs of significant vision loss occur later, when the disease has progressed further. This happens often, which has caused glaucoma to be referred to as “The Sneak Thief of Sight.” Unfortunately, any vision loss at later stages of the disease is permanent and cannot be reversed.
Yet, there is hope. IALVS doctors have the knowledge, expertise, and experience to provide you with a customized treatment plan for your unique vision needs. Don’t give up – we’re here to help you.
What Low Vision Glasses/Devices Can I Use for Glaucoma Disease?
Thanks to advancements in medicine and technology, we have access to the most state-of-the-art low vision devices and glasses. These devices can help optimize your remaining vision and successfully manage your glaucoma. You’ll be able to regain your independence and enjoy a higher quality of life.
Magnifying spectacles, electronic magnifiers, E-Scoop® glasses, and hand-held and stand magnifiers are just a few of the options for improving vision loss from glaucoma.
If you’ve suffered from significant vision loss from glaucoma, don’t give up! Contact your IALVS doctor today, and we’ll help you find the right options for your individual needs. Learn more about how we can help you regain visual activity
What is Advanced Technology for Glaucoma Disease?
Science and medicine advance at a rapid pace, with ongoing clinical trials and studies being conducted to improve glaucoma management and, of course, the disease itself. A lot of research, creative optical design, and testing goes into the manufacturing of low vision glasses and devices.
Low vision telescopes, microscope glasses, filters, and prisms can enlarge and intensify images for improved visual clarity. Portable digital magnifiers, IrisVision, Orcam, Jordy, eSight, and CCTV’s offer can reinforce certain visual functions in glaucoma patients. Deciding which kinds of low vision glasses and devices are right for you depends on your personal needs and degree of vision loss. IALVS eye doctors can help you choose the best option for you.
Coping with Glaucoma Disease
Every patient’s form of glaucoma is different. Some have mild cases while others have more severe cases, but regardless of the severity of the disease, remember that you are not alone. Our goal is to help you manage your glaucoma so that you can continue to live your life as independently and enjoyable as possible.
Early detection of glaucoma is critical to slowing down its progression and saving as much of your vision as possible. Some signs of the disease are not apparent until later when serious vision loss has already occurred. That’s why regular eye exams which include a glaucoma screening are so important. Once the eye doctor has confirmed a glaucoma diagnosis, the focus will be on stabilizing the IOP and preventing the condition from worsening.
Living with glaucoma can be a challenge, but with the right treatment, medication, and low vision devices, you’ll be able to read, drive, watch TV, and recognize the faces of the people you care about. Your IALVS doctor can give you the guidance and support for you and your family to cope with glaucoma and get back to doing the things you love.
What Are the Symptoms of Glaucoma Disease?
Typically, there are no signs that glaucoma is developing. The most common form of glaucoma is called open-angle glaucoma. During the beginning stages, few changes in vision are noticeable and there is no discomfort. Over time, you may notice decreased peripheral (side) vision and central vision.
Glaucoma can be inherited genetically, a form of the condition known as congenital glaucoma. In these cases, children are born with a visual defect that causes normal fluid drainage from the eye to slow down. Congenital glaucoma is generally diagnosed within the first year. The most common signs of this form of the disease are persistent tearing, light sensitivity, cloudy eyes, or large or bulging eyes. Babies born with congenital glaucoma can undergo surgery to correct the defect with typically high rates of success.
The most serious type of glaucoma is called angle-closure glaucoma. Patients who develop this form of the disease experience a sudden onset of symptoms, which must be treated as a medical emergency. Angle-closure glaucoma can result in severe pain, headaches, blurry vision, nausea, and seeing halos around lights. These signs indicate a quickly-developing level of IOP, so if you experience any of these signs, getting medical care immediately is critical. The longer that this remains untreated, the more likely that permanent vision loss can happen, even within a few hours.
What Are the Causes of Glaucoma Disease?
Glaucoma is caused by a buildup of intraocular pressure that happens inside the eye. As the IOP increases, it can cause damage to the optic nerve, with vision loss as the eventual outcome. If glaucoma is left untreated, it can deteriorate to the point of total blindness. Once that happens, the loss of vision becomes permanent.
The best way to diagnose glaucoma in its early stages is with a glaucoma test. Your IALVS eye doctor includes this as part of regular eye exams. Should you receive a positive diagnosis, we encourage you to begin treatment as soon as possible.