Glaucoma is not one but a series of eye conditions that lead to damage of the optic nerve. Your optic nerve is responsible for carrying signals from the eye to the brain. Normally the eye drains fluid through a mechanism called the drainage angle to keep the pressure in the eye stable. However, with glaucoma, the drainage angle becomes clogged or completely blocked, and the pressure inside the eye builds, eventually damaging the optic nerve. Once damaged, the optic nerve cannot be repaired, making glaucoma the second leading cause of blindness in the United States.
Congenital glaucoma is present at birth and caused by abnormal fetal eye development. Secondary glaucoma is caused by eye injury, medications, or other discernible causes; it can be either open-angle or angle-closure glaucoma.
The San Diego glaucoma specialists at California Retina Associates can detect early symptoms of glaucoma during your routine eye examinations, which gives us the best chances of properly managing the disease. We can also discuss glaucoma risk factors and steps you can take to help prevent or delay the onset of this vision disorder.
Symptoms of Glaucoma
The most common type of glaucoma, primary open-angle glaucoma, develops slowly. There are usually no discernable symptoms or visual changes in the early stages. As the disease advances, it can cause blind spots in peripheral vision. The disease occurs when the drainage angle does not drain fluid as well as it should, which results in a gradual increase of eye pressure.
Angle-closure glaucoma comes on very quickly and causes symptoms like severe eye pain, headache, vomiting and nausea. It is considered a medical emergency. Angle-closure glaucoma occurs when the exit for aqueous fluid is completely blocked, causing a sudden increase in eye pressure. Without immediate intervention, angle-closure glaucoma can cause blindness.
Glaucoma Risk Factors
Because your eye pressure is constantly changing, special diagnostic tests may be required for the detection of glaucoma. During your regularly scheduled exams, our doctors may recommend additional testing, particularly if you have glaucoma risks factors such as a family history of this disorder, diabetes or other health problems that can affect the eyes.
If you are diagnosed with glaucoma, we offer a wide-range of glaucoma treatments to reduce eye pressure and protect your vision. The type of treatment best suited to meet your needs will be dependent on the type of glaucoma you have and the current level of damage that has occurred. Vision loss caused by glaucoma cannot be reversed, but further damage can be slowed or prevented with medication, laser or traditional surgery.
Questions about Glaucoma
Our glaucoma specialists would be happy to answer any questions about glaucoma you may have during an in-person visit.
Talk to Our San Diego Glaucoma Team
If you are noticing blind spots in your peripheral vision that could indicate open-angle glaucoma, or you are at a high risk of the disease, the team at California Retina Associates invites you to schedule an examination. To book your appointment, please call or email our practice today.