Glaucoma Testing & Treatment in Hendersonville
Glaucoma is a condition in which the optic nerves get damaged, resulting in a progressive and permanent loss of vision that ends in blindness if left untreated. Typically, this damage is caused by a buildup of pressure in the eye, and releasing this pressure stops further destruction of the nerve.
How the Eye Normally Controls Pressure
Normally, there is fluid in the eyes that constantly drains and is replaced by more fluid. This drainage happens through ducts, called "angles," that are in the iris. The drained fluid is then absorbed into the bloodstream and is later expelled from the body along with other waste materials.
How Glaucoma Occurs
Glaucoma occurs when the drainage ducts either don't drain enough fluid or stop draining it altogether. Since the eye still produces more fluid, the pressure within it increases. This then damages the optic nerve fibers. The more fibers are damaged, the more vision loss occurs. Age is one of the biggest risk factors for the disease, though other factors can also play a role.
The Two Main Forms of Glaucoma and Their Symptoms
Most commonly, glaucoma involves slow drainage through the ducts rather than complete blockage. This form is called open-angle glaucoma. It is especially insidious because it typically shows no obvious symptoms to the sufferer until permanent vision loss has occurred.
A less common form, closed-angle glaucoma, happens when the drainage ducts suddenly become blocked. This causes a big spike in the eye's internal pressure and is often accompanied by eye pain, redness, headaches, or the appearance of auras around lights. It doesn't take long for this condition to cause permanent vision damage, so it is a medical emergency.
Diagnosis and Treatment
Since open-angle glaucoma is a sneaky condition, it's important to be tested for it on a regular basis. Such tests include measurements of the pressure inside the eye as well as peripheral vision tests. They are included in standard comprehensive eye exams offered by your optometrist. That said, if you experience the symptoms of closed-angle glaucoma, you should come into the office immediately instead of waiting for your usual exam time. This form can't wait.
Treatment for open-angle glaucoma is typically done with eye drops that either slow the production of the fluid in the eye or thin it down so it flows more freely. Surgery can also be done to improve drainage efficiency.
Closed-angle glaucoma often requires surgery. This is because the ducts have become completely blocked, so direct action is needed to open a clear passage for drainage.
Get Glaucoma Testing at Hendersonville Eye Care
To get tested for glaucoma, and if needed, treated for this condition, just make an appointment with us here at Hendersonville Eye Care in Hendersonville, NC. We'll be glad to evaluate you.