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Questions and Answer on Glaucoma

We asked Dr. Dixon some questions about Glaucoma- and here is what she had to say:

Q. What is glaucoma?
Glaucoma is an eye disease caused by a high pressure of the fluid inside the eyeball. The high-pressure causes damage to the optic nerve overtime and can lead to vision loss and blindness.

Q. What causes glaucoma?
Many cases of glaucoma are genetic, meaning they tend to run in families. It can also be caused by an injury, a severe infection, certain medication’s like steroids, and some inflammatory conditions.

Q. Who gets glaucoma?
Anyone can get glaucoma. However, you are at a higher risk if you are over 40 years old, have a family history for glaucoma, have diabetes, or have a history of high pressure.

Q. How is glaucoma harmful to vision?
Glaucoma slowly causes damage to the optic nerve. This causes slow vision loss from your peripheral vision into your central vision. It can eventually leave to tunnel vision or total blindness.

Q. Will I go blind from glaucoma?
Only the most severe and untreated cases of glaucoma will end in total blindness. Most cases of glaucoma are very treatable, however they need to be diagnosed in a timely manner. This is why having your eyes checked on a yearly basis is extremely important because the beginning stages of glaucoma have no symptoms.

Q. How can I tell if I have glaucoma?
You will have no symptoms whatsoever in the early stages of glaucoma. The only way it can be detected is with a yearly comprehensive eye exam with your eye doctor. As glaucoma progresses, you may notice a reduction in your peripheral vision.

Q. How is glaucoma detected?
The only way to detect glaucoma is with regular comprehensive eye exams. Your eye doctor will measure your intraocular pressure (IOP) and examine your optic nerve for signs of damage from glaucoma. If you have any identifiable risk factors for glaucoma, your eye doctor may have you perform additional tests. A visual field test is a detailed computerized measurement of the sensitivity of your peripheral vision. This can detect small changes in your peripheral vision from glaucoma before they are noticeable by you.

Q. How is glaucoma treated?
Most cases of glaucoma are effectively treated with eyedrops to lower the intraocular pressure. Certain cases may require laser treatment or surgery to control the eye pressure to prevent damage from glaucoma.

Q. Can glaucoma be prevented?
The best prevention for glaucoma is being tested every year, especially if you have any risk factors. The earlier that glaucoma is detected, the better your chances of effectively treating it and lowering your eye pressure to a safe leave to prevent vision loss.

One common misconception is that high eye pressure is related to high blood pressure. Unfortunately, unlike blood pressure, you cannot lower your eye pressure by exercising more or improving your diet. The pressure of the fluid inside your eye (called the aqueous humor) is a factor of how much fluid your eye is producing and how quickly it is draining out. The majority of these dynamics are determine determined by genetics.

To learn more about Glaucoma, please look here.