About 400,000 Canadians are impacted by glaucoma. This condition develops slowly and gradually damages the optic nerve, resulting in irreversible vision loss. You can limit its most devastating consequences with early diagnosis and intervention.
Medication and surgery can control the disease and prevent further loss of sight. Book an eye exam with an optometrist at Optometrists’ Clinic Inc. in Edmonton to ensure you detect glaucoma in its earliest stages and help protect your eyesight.
Glaucoma is generally considered damage to the optic nerve caused by increased fluid pressure inside the eye. However, some people with normal eye pressure also get it, making the exact cause unknown.
Primary open-angle glaucoma, the most prevalent type, occurs when the eye produces too much aqueous fluid or the liquid drains too slowly. The increased fluid pressure damages the optic nerve, a bundle of about a million fibres that send signals from the eye to the brain. When the nerve fibres are damaged, your brain receives fewer signals. This type of glaucoma usually affects peripheral vision first.
Angle-closure glaucoma is less common than primary open-angle glaucoma but progresses much more rapidly. As the eyes age, the lenses grow bigger, narrowing the space between the iris and the cornea. This narrowing can block the aqueous fluid from draining from the eye, resulting in a quick spike in fluid pressure. This form of glaucoma is considered a health emergency, as it can cause irreversible vision within a day. If you develop a suddenly red, painful, and blurry eye you should be seen immediately. Call one of our offices or go directly to emergency.
Secondary glaucoma can be due to an injury, infection or tumour that puts undue fluid pressure on the eye. Certain medications and medical conditions can also cause secondary glaucoma. Other conditions that your optometrist can detect may also put you at risk for various secondary glaucomas.
Normal-tension glaucoma happens even though the eye fluid pressure is normal. No one knows why this happens to some people, although one theory suggests a lack of blood flow to the eye as a possible cause.
The disease typically progresses slowly and painlessly, making signs of glaucoma challenging to detect. Often a patient is diagnosed only after suffering permanent vision loss. However, patients with acute angle closure glaucoma may have painful red eyes with blurred vision and see halos around lights. These symptoms require immediate attention.
The following factors put you at higher risk of developing glaucoma:
Other eye conditions, such as retinal detachment, tumours and inflammation, may also induce glaucoma.
Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of blindness in Canada. Glaucoma is usually without symptoms in its early stages. Unfortunately, too many people don’t see their optometrist regularly to detect early changes related to glaucoma. Fortunately, a general eye exam is your best safeguard against it and can prevent permanent vision loss.
There are several ways to treat glaucoma. An eye doctor may prescribe medications that reduce eye pressure.
Besides medications, surgery may halt the progression of the disease. Laser and conventional surgery techniques can help your eye drain fluid more efficiently. You can also get tiny implants to better drain fluid from your eyes. Your optometrist will refer to the appropriate ophthalmologist for these interventions, if necessary.
There’s no cure for glaucoma, so early detection is the best way to prevent vision loss from the disease. Once you’ve been diagnosed with glaucoma, maintaining healthy eye pressure according to your eye doctor’s advice is the only way to stop it from progressing.
At Optometrists’ Clinic Inc., we can detect eye diseases such as glaucoma with a simple eye exam and recommend the best treatment. Our team is qualified and equipped to care for the eye health of your entire family, from the oldest to the youngest. Contact us today to schedule an appointment with an optometrist at one of our clinics in Edmonton, Leduc and Westlock.