While some eye problems cause acute irritation and other discomforts without doing permanent harm, others may destroy your vision without necessarily producing any outward symptoms whatsoever. Glaucoma is a disease that damages the sensitive fibers of the optic nerves and it can potentially cause years of destruction before you notice any vision problems. But glaucoma doesn’t have to mean blindness. Our optometrists at MVC Eye Care can catch the early signs of glaucoma in a comprehensive eye exam. We can then prescribe treatments to help you manage the condition and preserve your eyesight.

What Is Glaucoma?

Glaucoma is a destruction of the optic nerve most commonly associated with high intraocular pressure. The pressure comes from a fluid called the aqueous humor routinely produced by the eye. Under normal circumstances, a drainage system in the iris allows excess fluid to escape, thus normalizing the pressure level. If this drainage system fails to do its job, the pressure rises — an effect that can damage the optic nerves. The two main categories of glaucoma include:

Open-Angle Glaucoma – This common variety of glaucoma does its damage slowly; the drainage system still works, but not well enough to keep up with fluid production. This disease can lurk silently for years until you finally start to notice that your peripheral vision is failing.

Narrow-Angle or Angle-Closure Glaucoma – This acute type of glaucoma strikes when the drainage system fails completely due to an abnormally narrow drainage angle. Unlike the subtle approach of open-angle glaucoma, this condition can cause intense eye pain, headache pain, nausea and noticeable vision loss. If it isn’t treated immediately, blindness can result in a matter of hours.
Anyone can get glaucoma, especially after age 60. But African-Americans experience an elevated risk after age 40, and individuals with a family history of glaucoma, high blood pressure or thin corneas are also at risk. Asian-Americans are especially prone to narrow-angle glaucoma.

How Our Optometrists Can Help

Our Southern NH optometrists can look for glaucoma indicators as part of a comprehensive eye exam. The first step is Tonometry, in which we measure the pressure inside the eye; abnormally high pressure calls for further investigation. We can look inside the eye to observe the optic nerves directly for any signs of damage by taking advanced retinal photos using our OptoMap/Optos machines as well as through dilating your eyes. Tests of your peripheral vision can tell us whether glaucoma has begin to affect your eyesight.

If you have Glaucoma, we can help you gain control over it through topical and/or oral medications. These medications limit aqueous humor production and/or help the drainage system work better. We can even refer you to an eye surgeon for laser procedures and other techniques to address your vision needs further.

Get Your Eyes Checked for Glaucoma at MVC Eye Care

Don’t let glaucoma claim your eyesight. Take action against it today by calling us!

Glaucoma FAQs

The eye’s optic nerve is affected in patients with glaucoma. Intraocular pressure builds up in the eye, harming the nerve. This nerve sends signals between the brain and the eye, so it’s chiefly responsible for good vision.

Many patients report being asymptomatic for many years. Permanent vision loss is likely at that point, and that’s what triggers these patients to visit an eye doctor.

That said, when a patient loses vision due to glaucoma, it cannot be restored. The focus at that point is preventing the disease from robbing a patient’s vision even further.

As mentioned, the eye’s optic nerve contains what’s called intraocular pressure. In healthy patients, this pressure is at a normal level and causes no strain on the optic nerve. In those with glaucoma, the pressure increases to the point where the optic nerve is harmed and fluid may leak into the eye.

If you think you may have this condition, don’t wait to receive glaucoma treatment. The sooner your eye doctor catches this, the better. At MVC Eye Care, we can prescribe a treatment that can preserve your vision.

Medications like eye drops can be impactful in regulating intraocular pressure. Laser treatments may also halt this condition, as can surgery. That said, surgery is often offered as a last resort for patients who are at high risk of losing all their vision.