More than 3 million Americans live with glaucoma — the “silent thief of sight.” At Envision Eyecare in Flushing, Queens, New York, Leonard Fuzyalov, OD, diagnoses glaucoma with thorough testing and comprehensive eye exams and offers customized treatment to preserve your eye health and vision. Call Envision Eyecare or make an appointment online today.
Glaucoma is a complex disease which damages your eyes optic nerve and leads to progressive, irreversible vision loss. It usually happens when fluid builds up in the front part of your eye. That extra fluid increases the pressure in your eye, damaging the optic nerve. The two most common types of glaucoma — open-angle and closed-angle — develop when your eye is unable to drain fluid efficiently. The angles are small openings between your iris and your cornea and the trabecular mesh network that allow extra liquid to exit your eye.
Open-angle glaucoma develops when fluid doesn’t drain from your eye correctly, but your drainage angles are open, and your trabecular meshwork looks normal. It usually develops slowly and doesn’t cause any pain or other symptoms until your peripheral vision starts to deteriorate.
Closed-angle glaucoma usually develops suddenly because of a blockage in your drainage angle or trabecular meshwork. It typically comes in attacks with headaches, halos, and vision loss. Your attack usually passes in a few hours before another attack hits. Each wave takes away part of your peripheral vision.
Glaucoma is called the silent thief of sight because it doesn’t usually cause symptoms until you start to lose vision. The best way to find out if you have glaucoma in its early stages is to have regular comprehensive eye exams, including tests to measure your intraocular pressure. Your optometrist may also offer a visual field test to check your peripheral vision.
You may be familiar with the “puff of air” test, which is a contactless form of tonometry — a test to measure your intraocular pressure. Your optometrist may also use another type of tonometry, which involves numbing eye drops and gently touching your eyeball with a probe to measure your eye pressure.
Your optometrist may also use an ophthalmoscope to examine the internal structures of your eyes to check for problems with your trabecular meshwork, drainage angles, or your retina and optic nerve.
Treatment for glaucoma depends on the severity of your condition. If your glaucoma is in its early stages, your optometrist may prescribe medicated eye drops to lower and control your intraocular pressure. You may also benefit from laser surgery to either reduce the fluid production in your eye or improve your drainage.