Glaucoma Questions and Answers
What is glaucoma? Should I be concerned?
Glaucoma is a progressive eye disease that can blind you. An estimated three million Americans have glaucoma, making it one of the most common causes of blindness in adults. About half of those people don’t even realize they have the disease since it usually develops without pain. It progresses slowly causing impaired vision Untreated, glaucoma can lead to complete blindness.
(Click for larger version.)
In many people, increased pressure inside the eye is what causes glaucoma. In the front of the eye is a space called the anterior chamber. A clear liquid flows continuously in and out of this space and nourishes nearby tissues. (Click on image for larger version.)
Am I at risk for glaucoma?
Glaucoma does not discriminate. It can strike any age, any race, male or female at anytime. However, certain groups are at greater risk than others:
- Anyone over 50 years of age
- African-Americans over 35 years of age
- Latinos, especially of Mexican descent
- Individuals with a family history of glaucoma
- Individuals with hypertension
- Long term users of steroids (i.e. Prednisone)
- Anyone who has suffered a traumatic eye injury
- People who are nearsighted
How do I know if I have glaucoma?
Glaucoma often develops without pain or other symptoms as it destroys your peripheral, or “side” vision. Only a thorough examination of the optic nerve will help determine whether or not you have the disease. In the more aggressive and serious cases, patients not only lose their peripheral vision, they may also see rainbow-colored rings around lights or have trouble adjusting to dark rooms. Although these warning signs may have other causes, a thorough examination of your eyes is needed to tell if you have glaucoma. (Click the images below for larger versions. Keep in mind that looking at the simulation of glaucoma is different than actually experiencing peripheral vision loss.)
View with normal vision.
View with glaucoma.
What can I do if I have glaucoma?
Unfortunately, there are no known cures for glaucoma, and once sight is lost it cannot be restored. However, if detected early, glaucoma can be treated to prevent any further loss of sight. Anyone who hasPeople who have any of the early warning signs, or is are in need of a thorough eye examination, should see their ophthalmologist immediately.
At the Midwest Glaucoma Center, we have experience in all of the latest forms of treatment necessary to combat the disease. Dr. Olivier and her staff will provide you with the quality care that will help you make the most of your vision.