Glaucoma: What Is It, What Are The Symptoms, And Treatment

An incurable eye disease that is one of the leading causes of blindness in the United States, glaucoma is caused by irreversible damage to the optic nerve. This condition prevents your brain from receiving vision signals. Dr. Curtis R. Anderson, your optometrist in Lawrence, KS, and his knowledgeable staff understand that the key to preserving your sight is early diagnosis of the disease.


What is Glaucoma?

Glaucoma is the result of increased intraocular pressure (IOP) in the fluid-filled anterior chamber of your eye. In a healthy eye, this fluid regularly drains through special channels, but when these channels become blocked, IOP builds up, ultimately damaging the optic nerve.

Types of Glaucoma

Primary open-angle is the most common type of glaucoma, developing slowly and exhibiting no noticeable symptoms until much peripheral vision has already been permanently lost.

Angle-closure glaucoma occurs when the drainage channels are suddenly blocked. Fluid pressure builds up rapidly in the eye, and the victim experiences pain and sudden vision loss. This type is considered a medical emergency.

Secondary glaucoma can develop in patients with medical conditions like diabetes and hypertension.

Who Is at Risk for Glaucoma?

Anyone can develop glaucoma at any age. A routine comprehensive eye examination should become a regular part of your family’s healthcare as your optometrist can detect any signs of glaucoma, even those that do not generate symptoms. Factors that increase your risk of developing glaucoma include:

  • Age over 60
  • Family history of glaucoma (open-angle glaucoma is hereditary)
  • Hypertension or diabetes
  • Personal history of eye trauma
  • African-American descent
  • Medications such as cortisone and prednisone
  • Personal history of other eye diseases

Symptoms of Glaucoma

If you or a loved one experience any of the following symptoms, call your optometrist at once:

  • Sudden blurred vision
  • Eye pain
  • Vision loss
  • Halo around lights
  • Tunnel or narrowed vision

Diagnosis and Treatment of Glaucoma

Your optometrist will perform a comprehensive eye examination that includes discussing pertinent family and personal medical history as well as any eye or vision symptoms you may be having. Once your eye doctor determines the type and extent of your glaucoma, an individualized treatment plan will be developed to preserve your remaining sight. Treatment may include:

  • Medicated eye drops
  • Prostaglandin analogs to increase fluid flow
  • Beta-blockers to decrease fluid production
  • Microsurgery

 Expert Optometry Care in Lawrence

Here in Lawrence, KS, your optometrist, Dr. Curtis R. Anderson, and his capable staff know that early detection and treatment lead to the best outcomes. If you or a family member experience any of the above symptoms, call us at 785-843-8200 for an appointment today.