What is the optic nerve?

The optic nerve is a bundle of more than 1 million nerve fibers. It connects the retina, the light-sensitive layer of tissue at the back of the eye, with the brain. A healthy optic nerve is necessary for good vision.

How does glaucoma damage the optic nerve?

Glaucoma SurgeryIn many people, increased pressure inside the eye causes glaucoma. In the front of the eye is a space called the anterior chamber. A clear fluid flows continuously in and out of this space and nourishes nearby tissues. The fluid leaves the anterior chamber at the angle where the cornea and iris meet. When the fluid reaches the angle, it flows through a spongy meshwork, like a drain, and leaves the eye. Open-angle glaucoma gets its name because the angle that allows fluid to drain out of the anterior chamber is open. However, for unknown reasons, the fluid passes too slowly through the meshwork drain. In Angle-closure glaucoma, this drain is narrow or closed. As the fluid builds up, the pressure inside the eye rises. Unless the pressure at the front of the eye is controlled, it can damage the optic nerve and cause vision loss.

If there is a history of glaucoma in my family, am I likely to inherit it?

Yes, you are at a higher risk of developing glaucoma. Glaucoma can be treated effectively if it is diagnosed in time, so be sure to have a regular eye examination by an ophthalmologist.

Are both the eyes affected by a glaucoma attack?

Usually, both eyes are affected. One eye starts damage earlier than the other does. If you have an asymmetric appearance of the optic nerves, you may be considered a glaucoma suspect.

Are there different types of glaucoma?

Glaucoma TreatmentYes. In summary there are four main types of glaucoma:

  • Open Angle Glaucoma (OAG): In OAG, there is excess secretion of the fluid inside the eye but there is no defect in the drainage system.
  • Narrow Angle Glaucoma (NAG): In NAG, the fluid secretion inside the eye is normal, but the drainage system is narrow.
  • Low Tension Glaucoma (LTG): In LTG, the drainage system is normal, fluid secretion is also normal (as tested by normal eye pressure), but even then there is damage to the optic nerve.
  • Other than these, there are many conditions, which can lead to secondary glaucoma.
Is the treatment same for all types of glaucoma?

Initial treatment is oriented towards the lowering of eye pressure. First, different types of eye drops are tried. If medicine is not sufficient then laser treatment is considered. The area to be treated is different in OAG versus NAG. When laser does not work then surgery is recommended to open a drainage system in the eye.

Is this laser different from the laser used in Laser Vision Correction?

There are different types of lasers used in the management of different eye diseases and disorders. The laser used in the treatment of glaucoma is different from the one used in PRK and LASIK surgery.

Will my vision improve after glaucoma surgery?

Glaucoma surgery is different from the cataract surgery. In cataract surgery, when the cloudy lens is replaced by lens implant, the vision usually improves. In glaucoma, the vision is lost due to nerve damage. This damage is permanent. Glaucoma surgery is aimed to prevent further loss of vision. It cannot restore the lost vision. Therefore, early diagnosis is very important to prevent this permanent loss.

What are the symptoms of glaucoma?

Cataract Surgery San JoseAt first, open-angle glaucoma has no symptoms. Vision stays normal, and there is no pain. As glaucoma remains untreated, people may notice that although they see things clearly in front of them, they miss objects to the side and out of the corner of their eye. Without treatment, people with glaucoma may find that they suddenly have no side vision. It may seem as though they are looking through a tunnel. Over time, the remaining forward vision may decrease until there is no vision left. Angle closure glaucoma causes severe and acute eye pain, blurry vision, nausea vomiting etc. Often an emergency laser treatment is given to lower the eye pressure.

How is glaucoma detected?

Cataract Surgery Union CityMost people think that they have glaucoma if the pressure in their eye is increased. This is not always true. High pressure puts you at risk for glaucoma. It may not mean that you have the disease. Whether or not you get glaucoma depends on the level of pressure that your optic nerve can tolerate without being damaged. This level is different for each person. Although normal pressure is usually between 12-21 mm Hg, a person might have glaucoma even if the pressure is in this range. That is why an eye examination is very important.

What is involved in the complete evaluation of glaucoma?

Cataract Surgery CaliforniaA complete evaluation of glaucoma involves checking the eye pressure, clinical examination of the optic nerve, photograph if necessary, and baseline peripheral vision test called “visual field examination.” Later onpachymetry and or HRT is also recommended for evaluation and follow-up of glaucoma. If diagnosed early, medicine can be prescribed to treat this disease. The risk factors for glaucoma increase with increasing age, positive family history, myopia, history of diabetes etc.

What can I do to protect my vision?

Eye Doctor Northern CaliforniaIf you are being treated for glaucoma, be sure to take your glaucoma medicine every day and see your ophthalmologist regularly. You can also help protect the vision of family members and friends who may be at high risk for glaucoma. Afro-Americans over age 40 and everyone over age 60 are at a higher risk of glaucoma. Encourage them to have an eye examination through dilated pupils every one-two years.

Can glaucoma be treated?

As a rule, damage caused by glaucoma cannot be reversed. Treatment often can control it. This makes early diagnosis and treatment important to protect your sight.

I want to get my eyes checked for glaucoma, what is the next step?

Schedule an appointment at NeoVision Eye Center by calling us at 1-510-431-5511.

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