Dr. Davis talks about Glaucoma
January is Glaucoma month so in this episode, we are going to be speaking about glaucoma symptoms, treatment, and prevention. Glaucoma is increasingly common worldwide in part due to the rapidly aging population and vision loss greatly impacts the independence of seniors.
Definition of Glaucoma
Glaucoma is a fluid buildup in the eye and that fluid pushes on the optic nerve. It can create vision loss and possibly even blindness.
Causes of Glaucoma
The causes of Glaucoma are really unknown. However, it is believed that tumors, diabetes, and hypothyroidism contribute greatly to glaucoma.
Risk Factors include old age, eye injuries, eye surgery, myopia (near-sightedness), and certain ethnic backgrounds including East Asians, Hispanics, and African have a higher incidence of glaucoma than Caucasians.
Symptoms of Glaucoma
- Peripheral vision is lost or greatly affected
- Sudden or intense pain in the eyes
- With light there may be a halo effect
- Red eyes and blurred eyes
There really is no way to prevent glaucoma. However, keep your weight in check, exercise regularly, don’t smoke, don’t drink excessive alcohol. A new one is to wear polarized sunglasses so the white of the sidewalk, snow or the blinding light on a sunny day can penetrate regular sunglasses but with polarized sunglasses, there is a blocking effect which can prevent light from hurting or exacerbating glaucoma.
The best line of treatment is to get the pressure down and the way doctors do this is first trying eye drops. There are beta-blockers and cholinergic eye drops which will relieve pressure but if that does not work they will take the next step which is laser surgery. It is not as invasive as regular surgery but they can try to laser the eye canals to get rid of some of the fluid that creates the pressure. If that does not work the last step is to perform regular surgery which will install shunts in your eye canals which will hopefully improve the drainage.
There is no way to prevent glaucoma but taking good care of yourself can reduce your risk. Early detection is key. The earlier it is detected the more effective the treatment and you can keep your vision for as long as possible.