Glaucoma is a vision-threatening condition with few symptoms to warn about the possibility of vision loss. In glaucoma, your eye’s nerves suffer damage that ultimately causes vision loss from your peripheral vision toward the center. Most often, glaucoma is caused by elevated pressure in the eye’s internal fluids.
Because glaucoma has few symptoms, it is important to have regular eye exams in which an ophthalmologist can evaluate the health of your eyes to determine whether you need treatment to prevent vision loss. If you have not had an eye exam recently, please call 888-514-2020 or email Armin Vishteh, MD today for a free consultation at our offices in: Rancho Cucamonga, Burbank, Santa Monica.
Glaucoma is a disease that affects the optic nerve, which carries images from your eye to your brain. Most often, glaucoma is caused by a rise in intraocular pressure, the pressure of fluid inside your eye because the eye has lost its ability regulate the production and drainage of the fluids it produces. This is generally detectable only during an eye exam by an ophthalmologist.
There are many different types of glaucoma, categorized by their cause:
- Open angle glaucoma– when the eye’s normal drainage system presumably becomes microscopically obstructed
- Closed angle glaucoma– when the eye’s drainage system is blocked by the iris or other structures. Sometimes called “acute glaucoma,” you should seek emergency eye care if you believe you are suffering from this type of glaucoma.
- Secondary glaucoma–when eye injury or eye surgery leads to elevated pressure
- Normal tension glaucoma–when damage to the optic nerve occurs without elevated intra-ocular pressure
- Ocular hypertension–when an elevation in the intra-ocular pressure is not associated with other glaucomatous changes. Ocular hypertension can develop into glaucoma.
In most cases, treatment can prevent vision loss from glaucoma related to elevated pressure. Even normal-tension glaucoma can respond to lowering of intraocular pressure.
Learn what glaucoma symptoms to look for in order to prevent vision loss.
Glaucoma is sometimes described as “the silent thief of sight” because the most common form has few if any symptoms. Other types of glaucoma are marked with immediate symptoms, such as halos, eye pain, headaches, and immediate vision loss. Glaucoma results in vision loss and needs to be treated whether you experience symptoms or not.
The best way to detect glaucoma and prevent vision loss is with regular eye exams. If you have not had an eye exam recently, please call 888-514-2020 or email Armin Vishteh, MD today to schedule an appointment at our Rancho Cucamonga, Burbank, or Santa Monica offices.
Open Angle Glaucoma Symptoms
Open angle glaucoma is the most common form of glaucoma. It occurs when your eye’s drainage duct (called the “angle”) gradually becomes blocked by material over time. This causes the pressure in your eyes to slowly elevate, damaging your optic nerve and causing you to lose vision. Once you notice vision loss from open angle glaucoma, it may be gone forever, and you may have future vision loss before treatment takes effect.
The best way to prevent vision loss from open angle glaucoma is to have regular eye exams according to the recommended timing.
Angle Closure Glaucoma Symptoms
Another type of glaucoma, angle closure or acute glaucoma, actually has significant symptoms, such as:
- Red eyes
- Halos around lights
- Eye pain
- Nausea and vomiting
- Vision loss–may be partial or total, and in one eye or both
These symptoms should be treated as an eye emergency and you should seek medical attention immediately. Vision loss from angle closure glaucoma can be sudden, severe, and irreversible.
Vision Loss from Glaucoma
Vision loss from glaucoma can be irreversible, so it’s important to learn to recognize it and seek treatment before it becomes too severe. You should also learn how to distinguish it from vision loss due to other effects of aging eyes, such as macular degeneration or cataracts.
Vision loss from glaucoma begins as a shading or loss of peripheral vision that darkens and narrows the field of vision. Macular degeneration affects your central vision first. Cataracts begin as a haze over your entire vision that lessens clarity and sensitivity to contrast and colors. You may also see night vision effects, such as glare, halos, and starbursts.
If you notice signs of glaucoma vision loss, seek medical attention. Glaucoma treatment can often stop additional vision loss, but vision lost may not be recoverable.
Before glaucoma steals your sight, schedule an eye exam. Please contact Armin Vishteh, MD to schedule an appointment at our Rancho Cucamonga, Burbank, or Santa Monica location.
Glaucoma treatment is generally very successful in preventing vision loss. Treatment typically progresses through several stages:
- Medications, typically eye drops
- Laser treatment–generally selective laser trabeculoplasty (SLT)
- Glaucoma Filtration Surgery
Most patients see good results with medications, although the dosage may need to be increased as the condition progresses. Sometimes patients may find the amount of medication they have to take to be cumbersome and desire laser treatment for improved convenience. Surgical treatment is generally only necessary in advanced cases.
Vision loss from glaucoma may be imperceptible at first, so it’s important to detect the condition early. Once you notice vision loss, it may be too late.
Glaucoma Treatment Options
There are many current glaucoma treatments and others in development. Currently, the most common treatments for glaucoma include:
- Eye drops
- Laser surgery
Dr. Vishteh can prescribe appropriate eye drops and perform laser surgery. Microsurgery is referred to a specialist to ensure you get the best possible care.
Eye Drops for Glaucoma
Eye drops are the most common first-line treatment for glaucoma. They work well to regulate open angle glaucoma, the most common form of the disease. Although it is possible for people to have negative interactions between eye drops and other medications, there are several different kinds of eye drops available, including:
- Prostaglandin analogs
- Beta blockers
- Adrenergic drops
- Alpha-adrenergic antagonists
- Carbonin anhydrase inhibitors
These different options ensure that nearly everyone can find an effective glaucoma eye drop treatment with minimal side effects and medicine interaction.
As glaucoma increases in severity, eye drops either become an ineffective treatment or the number of applications increases to the point where they become inconvenient. At this point, people may look for an alternative treatment that may reduce or eliminate the need for eye drops.
Laser surgery for glaucoma opens up the eye’s drainage duct. It can be used to open a clogged duct or to put a small hole in structures that may block the drainage duct (such as your iris). Dr. Vishteh performs argon laser trabeculoplasty, selective laser trabeculoplasty, and laser peripheral iridotomy.
If you are looking for effective glaucoma treatment, please contact Armin Vishteh, MD today for a free consultation at our offices in: Rancho Cucamonga, Burbank, Santa Monica.
Why Choose Dr. Vishteh for Glaucoma Treatment
There are many places you can go for glaucoma treatment, but we invite you to talk to us and learn the benefits of personalized vision care for this and other vision treatment. Dr. Armin Vishteh is a board-certified ophthalmologist with decades of experience who offers an alternative to corporate medicine. He emphasizes one on one care and personally strives to give every patient the care they need to get the best possible results.
If you have not been tested for glaucoma recently, please contact Armin Vishteh, MD today for a free consultation at our offices in: Rancho Cucamonga, Burbank, Santa Monica.