Glaucoma can lead to blindness, but with regular screenings and early detection, you can slow the progression of the disease and protect your vision. At Scarbrough Family Eyecare in Beulah and Traverse City, Michigan, board-certified optometrist Edward Scarbrough, OD, is experienced in detecting and controlling glaucoma. Schedule an appointment online or over the phone to get tested for glaucoma or to learn more about your risks and treatment options.
Glaucoma is a disease that damages your optic nerves. Your optic nerves are located in the back of your eyes and send visual information to your brain, which allows you to see images. Glaucoma usually affects both of your eyes, but it may not develop at the same time, so the disease is often worse in one eye than the other.
The underlying cause of glaucoma is increased pressure on the optic nerve. Your eyes contain a fluid called aqueous humor, which serves a number of functions, including maintaining a healthy level of pressure in your eyes. When this fluid can’t drain freely, it builds up in the front part of your eye, which can damage your optic nerve over time.
Glaucoma develops slowly, and there aren’t any early warning signs. By the time glaucoma causes noticeable symptoms, it’s already caused permanent vision damage. That means regular eye exams at Scarbrough Family Eyecare, including a glaucoma screening, are your best defense against the disease.
Glaucoma usually affects your peripheral (side) vision first. Eventually, if left untreated, you may become completely blind in one or both eyes. Unfortunately, there’s no way to reverse vision loss from glaucoma, which is why early intervention is so important.
You’re at a higher risk of developing glaucoma if you:
Have diabetes, heart disease, or high blood pressure
If you don’t have any risk factors, you should undergo a glaucoma screening every four years starting at age 40. If you’re at higher risk or are age 65 or older, you should get screened for glaucoma every two years.
The goal of glaucoma treatment is to preserve your vision by reducing the pressure in your eyes. Your Scarbrough Family Eyecare provider may prescribe eye drops that either cause your eye to produce less fluid or help the fluid in your eye drain more easily. Oral medication can also reduce fluid production.
If medication alone doesn’t control the pressure in your eye, the next step may be a procedure performed by an ophthalmologist. These surgeries, which use minimally invasive techniques, fix the drainage channel in your eye or create a new channel.
Though glaucoma isn’t curable, you can control the disease and preserve your vision with early detection. To schedule an eye exam or learn more about treatment, schedule an appointment at Scarbrough Family Eyecare online or over the phone.