Glaucoma is one of the most frightening eye diseases that exists for several reasons. First of all, it is a progressive disease.
That means, without intervention, it only gets worse over time. Also, it is very gradual and does not present obvious symptoms.
That makes it almost impossible to detect until it damages your vision. Any damage done to your sight by glaucoma is entirely irreversible.
And, if you have glaucoma, there is no cure for it. You can only manage your symptoms and keep your eye pressure low.
But many people lead fulfilling lives with intact vision with glaucoma. Keep reading to learn how you can treat glaucoma, so it doesn’t cause complete vision loss.
How Glaucoma Damages Your Eyesight
Your eyes are constantly getting flushed out with fluid that cycles in and out of them. This cycling of fresh fluid, called tears, keeps your eyes nourished and healthy.
Glaucoma occurs when there is an imbalance in this cycle. If the fluid is flowing in faster than it is flowing out over a long period, the pressure in your eye builds.
A partial or complete blockage generally causes this in the drainage angle in your eye. As the pressure inside the eye rises, it pushes on your optic nerve.
Your optic nerve is what connects your eyes to your brain. It sends light signals from your retina to your brain, which forms images from the light.
This pressure, called intraocular pressure or IOP, leads to optic nerve damage. When your optic nerve gets damaged, it is permanent. There is no way to repair your optic nerve once it sustains damage from high levels of IOP.
In the beginning stages of glaucoma, you will likely not notice any changes to your eyesight. For better or for worse, your brain can adapt to the minor, gradual deterioration of your vision.
In the short term, this allows you to see and go about your days without struggle. In the long run, not knowing that your eyesight is getting worse could lead to permanent vision loss.
As this optic nerve damage goes on longer, your brain will struggle to compensate for the lost sight. Eventually, it will not keep up, and you will notice that your eyesight is becoming worse. Sadly, at this point, it will be too late to get it back.
How Do You Treat Glaucoma?
Treating glaucoma will not undo any damage already done by the disease. That’s why early detection is so critical.
Early detection of glaucoma is only possible through regular eye appointments. Consistent visits to your eye doctor allow them to track your vision and any potential issues.
If you catch glaucoma early, then you can slow its progression with medication. Glaucoma medication usually comes as medicated eye drops, at least to start.
You may also need oral medication to supplement it, depending on your circumstance. Either way, these medications work in two ways. One type relaxes the structures in your eye, allowing for increased outflow of fluid.
The other type works by slowing down the production of the fluid. Some people may need both to keep their IOP low.
In certain situations, surgery may be necessary to relieve pressure inside your eye. But even if you have surgery, medication is still required afterward.
Glaucoma medication is effective, but it requires a daily application to work as intended. Do you want to make sure you don’t have glaucoma? Schedule an appointment at Stahl Eyecare Experts in Manhattan, NY, to be safe!