What is glaucoma?
Glaucoma is the name given to the disease that results from fluid buildup causing pressure on your optic nerve. Though the cause of this pressure is unknown, if not dealt with promptly, the result is often irreversible damage. The four main types of glaucoma are:
- Primary open-angle glaucoma: Primary open-angle glaucoma is believed to result from either the drainage system in your eye becoming inefficient or from inadequate blood flow to your optic nerve. As the most common form of this disease, primary open-angle glaucoma develops slowly, making it so that many of those affected lose a significant amount of vision before noticing a problem.
- Angle-closure glaucoma: Most cases of angle-closure glaucoma tend to appear suddenly, with pupil dilation leading to vision loss. The drainage angle formed by your cornea and iris gets narrower, causing a fluid blockage. This build-up adds pressure on your optic nerve.
- Secondary glaucoma: Secondary glaucoma usually results from an unrelated injury or eye disease. Some medications and eye abnormalities have also led to secondary glaucoma.
- Normal-tension or low-tension glaucoma: The causes of normal or low-tension glaucoma are unknown. However, this type of glaucoma doesn’t result from increased eye pressure on your optic nerve.
How is glaucoma diagnosed?
The doctors at James N. Cohn M.D. & Associates diagnose glaucoma by first reviewing your medical and family history, before conducting a comprehensive eye exam that includes:
- Tonometry: measures intraocular pressure
- Visual field test: looks for areas of vision loss
- Pachymetry: evaluates corneal thickness
- Gonioscopy: inspects drainage angle
How is glaucoma treated?
While glaucoma is incurable, there are several ways to slow the progression of the disease. These include:
- Medications: One of the doctors at James N. Cohn M.D. & Associates prescribes either eye drops or pills. These prescriptions are designed to either lower eye pressure or decrease the amount of fluid produced by your eyes.
- Laser trabeculoplasty: Laser trabeculoplasty is an in-office procedure which takes only a few minutes. Dr. Cohn uses a laser to make several evenly spaced treatment spots on the area of the eye that drains away fluid. The treatment stretches open the drainage area which improves the outflow of fluid and reduces the pressure in the eye.
- Trabeculectomy: Dr. Cohn surgically makes a new opening for the fluid to leave your eye. Dr. Cohn recommends this surgery if neither medicines nor laser surgery has succeeded in controlling your eye pressure.
Glaucoma has no warning signs or apparent symptoms until irreversible damage has occurred. Therefore, it's essential to have your eye pressure monitored by one of the doctors at James N. Cohn M.D. & Associates in Fremont, California. Call or make an appointment online today.