FAQ's (Frequently Asked Questions):
What is glaucoma?
Glaucoma is a disease of the eye that causes damage to the optic nerve, vision loss, and can eventually lead to blindness.
What causes glaucoma?
Glaucoma is caused by increased pressure building up within the eyes due to fluid not draining properly. There are often no symptoms and because damage to the optic nerve, and in turn, vision, diminishes gradually, by the time a patient notices a vision problem occurring, it is unfortunately too late to reverse the damage. Usually, peripheral (side) vision is lost first.
What are the risk factors for glaucoma?
Risk factors include age (people over the age of 60 are six times more likely to develop this disease), ancestry (it is six to eight times more common in African-Americans than in Caucasians), family history of glaucoma, personal history of diabetes or heart disease, and eye injuries.
Is there any way to prevent glaucoma?
Unfortunately, there currently is no way to prevent this disease, however, progression can be slowed if detected and treated early.
What are the signs and symptoms of glaucoma?
There are usually no signs that you're developing glaucoma until vision loss occurs, however, if symptoms do occur, they can include headache, eye pain, nausea, blurred vision, and rainbows or halos around lights, especially at night.
Are there different types of glaucoma?
There are several types: open angle, which is the most common; closed angle; secondary; Irido Corneal Endothelial Syndrome, which is a rare form of the disease and affects only one eye; and congenital glaucoma, which is hereditary and present at birth. There are also several different types of secondary open angle glaucoma. See the Home Page of this website for detailed descriptions.
Is there a way to reverse the damage?
The damage to vision caused by glaucoma unfortunately is irreversible. However, by having eye exams on a regular basis, glaucoma can be detected and controlled to prevent further damage.
What kind of treatment is available?
Treatment can include various types of eye drops and oral medications. Surgery, both laser and microsurgery, are also used.
Is it ok to drive a car if diagnosed with glaucoma?
You must be very cautious when driving if any part of your field of vision has become limited. Your physician can help determine if your vision will allow you to safely drive.
Can wearing corrective lenses help my vision?
Unfortunately, eyeglasses and other corrective lenses will not help improve vision loss due to glaucoma.