Glaucoma is a group of eye conditions that can harm your vision. There are two types of glaucoma, and they are both serious conditions of the eye. Glaucoma occurs due to high pressure in the eye, which causes damage to the optic nerve. There is no cure for glaucoma. However, the professionals at Hammond Vision Center, serving McAllen and Edinburg, TX, can provide treatments to slow the progression of the disease.
Who Is at Risk for Glaucoma?
Although anyone can develop glaucoma, certain factors make people more at risk for developing this eye condition, including:
- Family history of glaucoma
- Being over the age of 60
- Having high intraocular pressure
- Having thin corneas
- Being extremely nearsighted or extremely farsighted
- Medical conditions, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, or sickle cell anemia
- Long-term use of corticosteroid medications, particularly eye drops
- Previous eye surgery
- Previous eye injury
Types of Glaucoma
The two types of glaucoma are open-angle and angle-closure. Open-angle is the most common. It occurs when the fluid in your eye drains slowly, similar to a clogged drain. When the fluid cannot drain properly, it causes an increase in eye pressure.
Angle-closure is less common and more serious. It occurs when the fluid in your eyes cannot drain at all, causing the pressure in your eyes to spike rapidly, which causes more severe symptoms.
Symptoms of Glaucoma
Glaucoma has been called “the silent thief of sight” because it shows no early symptoms. Without annual eye exams, you won't know you have the condition until peripheral vision loss has occurred. As the condition progresses, tunnel vision can occur, and then permanent blindness.
Due to the rapid increase in eye pressure caused by glaucoma, the symptoms are severe, and they come on suddenly. They include:
- Severe pain in the eyes
- Severe headaches
- Blurry vision
- Seeing halos around lights
- Redness of the eyes
- Nausea and vomiting
Both types of glaucoma can be diagnosed during an eye exam. Since open-angle glaucoma shows no early symptoms, annual eye exams are essential. During the exam, our eye doctor will check the pressure in your eyes. If it is high, our optometrist will perform further tests to confirm the diagnosis. We will perform a gonioscopy to inspect the angle of the eye's drainage system. We will also perform a pachymetry to measure the corneal thickness and a visual field test to check for areas of vision loss.
In the early stages of open-angle glaucoma, our eye doctor can give you eye drops to lower the pressure in your eyes. As the condition progresses, there are more invasive procedures available.
- Laser trabeculoplasty: This is a laser procedure performed by professionals. It uses a laser to open the clogged channels to allow the fluid to drain properly.
- Filtering surgery: During this procedure, a small incision is created in the white of your eye to remove part of the trabecular meshwork, which will help drain the fluid and reduce the pressure.
Angle-closure glaucoma is considered a medical emergency, requiring immediate treatment to reduce your eye pressure.
Schedule an Eye Exam Today
Glaucoma is a serious condition, so it is vital to get annual eye exams. At Hammond Vision Center in Edinburg and McAllen, TX, our experts diagnose glaucoma and provide methods to slow its progression. To learn more or to schedule an appointment, call us today.