Optometrists located in Santa Monica, CA
Glaucoma is the leading cause of blindness in men and women over the age of 60 but can affect all ages, including children. Glaucoma is a slow, progressive disease. Therefore, yearly examinations are important in early diagnoses and the prevention of vision loss. Learn more about preventing glaucoma by scheduling an appointment online or by phone at Cooper Optometry in Santa Monica.
What is glaucoma?
Glaucoma is an eye disease that damages your optic nerve. High pressure in the eye can potentially damage important fibers in the optic nerve and cause peripheral vision loss. However, there is a condition called low tension glaucoma where patients develop the condition despite having normal to low eye pressures.
There are two types of glaucoma:
Primary open-angle glaucoma
Primary open-angle glaucoma is the most common type and occurs when the fluid in your eye doesn’t drain efficiently. The fluid builds pressure, causing damage to your optic nerve.
This type of glaucoma occurs when your iris sits very close to the drainage angle in the eye, causing a blockage. Angle-closure glaucoma is less common but can cause pressure in the eye to increase rapidly and result in blindness.
Angle-closure glaucoma is a serious medical condition that requires immediate treatment.
What are the symptoms of glaucoma?
Primary open-angle glaucoma has no symptoms and won’t affect your vision until the damage is already done. For this reason, it’s important to schedule regular eye exams that include glaucoma screenings.
Angle-closure glaucoma develops gradually with no initial symptoms. When the disease progresses and damage occurs, you may experience symptoms like:
- Sudden blurry vision
- Severe eye pain
- Frequent headaches
- Nausea and vomiting
In some cases, you may see rainbow-colored halos around lights.
Am I at risk of glaucoma?
You may be at increased risk of developing glaucoma if you have a history of this ocular condition in your family. The following factors also increase your risk:
- Aged 40 or over
- Far- or nearsightedness
- Thin corneas
- Diabetes or high blood pressure
- Eye injuries
If your heritage includes relatives of Asian, African, or Hispanic descent, you’re also more likely to develop glaucoma.
What treatment options are available for glaucoma?
Once damage to your optic nerve occurs, it's irreversible. Fortunately, effective treatments can stop further damage if your doctor detects glaucoma early.
Treatments may include prescription eye drops that lower pressure in your eye and help fluids drain more efficiently.
The doctor may also recommend laser or traditional surgery to improve the drainage system of your eye. She refers you to a highly qualified surgeon to perform the procedure and co-manages your treatment to ensure your eye heals properly after treatment.
To learn more about protecting your eyes from glaucoma, schedule a consultation online or by calling the office.