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Questions about Glaucoma? Our Hendersonville Optometrists have the Answers

Glaucoma, Hendersonville Optometrist

You may have heard the term "glaucoma" many times without ever quite understanding what is involved with this particular eye disorder. Here are some frequently asked questions as answered by our optometrists at Hendersonville Eye Care in North Carolina.

What is glaucoma? 

Glaucoma usually occurs alongside an increase in eye pressure, although some people have high eye pressure without experiencing glaucoma. Generally, a problem in the eye's ability to drain excess internal ("intraocular") fluid causes pressure in the eye to build up until the delicate optic nerve experiences damage.

What does glaucoma do to vision?

Glaucoma may cause you to lose your peripheral vision, adjust to changes in light levels with difficulty and experience near-vision focus problems. In its later stages, untreated glaucoma can cause blindness.

How many varieties of glaucoma are there?

The two main types of primary glaucoma are called wide-angle and closed angle glaucoma. Wide angle glaucoma is more common and involves a gradual blockage of the eyes' drainage canals, while closed-angle glaucoma is a sudden blockage. There are also other varieties such as normal pressure glaucoma and secondary glaucoma (which is a byproduct of another health problem such as diabetes).

Why is closed angle glaucoma considered an emergency?

Closed-angle glaucoma is an acute condition that can cause eye pain, nausea, vomiting, visual distortions and sudden loss of vision. If not treated right away, it can cause blindness.

What are the risk factors for glaucoma?

Age, genetic heritage, family history and underlying health conditions are all potential risk factors for glaucoma. Blood pressure abnormalities have been associated with glaucoma -- not just hypertension, but also low blood pressure that might reduce circulation in the eye.

How can I know I'm developing glaucoma?

Unfortunately, glaucoma can develop for years without sufferers being aware of any change in visual acuity. That's why an annual eye exam is an absolute must for anyone who wants to discover any traces of the disease as early as possible, ideally long before any vision loss occurs, so we can gain control over it from the very beginning.

How does an eye doctor check for glaucoma?

Our eye doctor may use a combination of diagnostic techniques to check for signs of glaucoma. The "puff" test and a more sophisticated technique called applanation tomography can give us a good idea of your intraocular pressure. An eye exam procedure called retinoscopy allows us to examine the optic nerve for early signs of damage.

Can glaucoma be treated?

While there is no way to reverse damage already caused by glaucoma, there are several methods to treat the disorder and minimize further harm. These methods include medicated eye drops, oral medications and various surgical techniques to improve the eye's drainage efficiency.

Have additional questions about Glaucoma? Contact Hendersonville Eye Care

Education and examination are your friends when it comes to watching out for serious eye diseases. Call 828-693-5205 to schedule an eye exam and learn more about glaucoma. Your curiosity could help save your eyesight!

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