A disease of the eye, glaucoma is defined by damage to a person’s optic nerve. While both eyes may be affected, a patient may suffer from this disease primarily in one eye and may often result in blurry or blind spots which appear in a person’s peripheral vision. The onset of glaucoma may not present with symptoms, which is why it is imperative to visit our Ophthalmologist at Overlake EyeCare center in the Bellevue, WA, area for a consultation and examination.
Two types of glaucoma exist: angle-closure and open-angle. The vast majority of glaucoma cases are determined to be open-angle glaucoma, which presents as increased eye pressure which occurs because of slow clogging of the drainage canals in the eye. Angle-closure glaucoma is the complete cessation of eye drainage, a medical emergency that requires immediate intervention.
While glaucoma is often associated with an increased intraocular pressure (IOP), this disease can also present at a normal internal eye pressure. Conversely, some individuals diagnosed with elevated eye pressure may never suffer from this disease.
What Are the Causes?
While the exact reason for an increase in pressure within the eye isn’t actually known, many physicians agree several factors may include:
A blockage or restriction of drainage within the eye
Evaluated blood pressure
A reduction of blood flow to the optic nerve
The application of dilation eye drops
Certain medications such as corticosteroids
Generally speaking, glaucoma is caused by the failure of the eye to properly maintain the proper balance of intraocular fluid produced compared to the amount of fluid that drains away.
How Is Glaucoma Treated?
Unfortunately, damage caused by glaucoma is permanent and irreversible. Surgery and prescription medications can help to prevent further damage. An ophthalmologist will create a treatment plan that may include prescription eye drops to lower eye pressure or make a recommendation for laser surgery. Because the cost associated with these drops can be high, our ophthalmologist can discuss strategies and options to make them affordable. Common surgical options are Trabeculoplasty, which is highly recommended for open-angle glaucoma, or an Iridotomy which is typically performed on patients with angle-closure glaucoma. In addition to ensuring a patient is following a proper diet, a recommendation to take vitamins containing B3 may be suggested, as this has been found to help improve neurodegenerative eye diseases like glaucoma.