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Many individuals are justifiably concerned about the prospect of developing glaucoma without necessarily understand exactly what this condition is, how it affects the eyes and what treatment options exist to combat it. The fact that the damage it causes is irreversible may even give some the false impression that they are helpless in the face of this eye disease. Our Brandon and Plant City practitioners at Brandon Eye Associates would like to help clear up these and other confusions. Here are some answers to frequently asked questions about glaucoma.
Glaucoma is a progressive disease that causes permanent damage to the optic nerve. The optic nerve is critical for its role in sending visual data gathered by the retina to the vision center of the brain for processing into coherent images.
In most cases, glaucoma is associated with excessive fluid pressure in the eye. This pressure can damage the optic nerve's fragile nerve fibers. The eye produces fluid (aqueous humor) constantly, but it's normally drained through tiny ducts in the front of the eye. If these ducts aren't doing their job, the pressure can rise. (But there are some cases of glaucoma that can occur even when eye pressure is normal.)
This is the most common and slow-growing form of glaucoma, in which the drainage ducts of the eye function at a reduced rate of efficiency. It is so named because the angle between the drainage canals and the iris is "wide," that is to say, normal.
This relatively rare condition, also called narrow-angle glaucoma, is an extremely acute condition characterized by an unusually narrow drainage angle. If this causes the drainage ducts to close off completely, you can suffer severe vision loss very quickly without emergency treatment.
Your eye doctor at our clinic will measure your eye pressure (using a method called tonometry) as part of your routine exam. If your pressure is higher than normal, we will conduct additional tests. Reduced peripheral vision in a vision test can be another red flag.
While the damage already done by glaucoma cannot be reversed, medications can help minimize future vision loss. Medicated eye drops can improve drainage and/or reduce the amount of fluid the eye produces. Your eye doctor may also prescribe oral medications to augment the eye drops' effectiveness if necessary.
An ophthalmologist on our team can perform a quick, painless outpatient surgery for open-angle glaucoma called a trabeculoplasty. This eye surgery uses a laser to boost the efficiency of the eye's drainage system. Laser peripheral iridotomy is another eye surgery prescribed for angle-closure glaucoma.
The first step in addressing this disease, which often shows no early symptoms, is detection. Call 813-684-2211 for an eye exam from a Brandon Eye Associates ophthalmologist!
I have benefited tremendously from the eye care I received from Brandon Eye Associates
John/ Brandon, FL
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