What is Glaucoma?
Glaucoma is actually a group of diseases that damage the optic nerve. The optic nerve is responsible for connecting the back of the eye (retina) to the brain. Glaucoma is usually caused by an increase in the fluid pressure in the eye – either because of overproduction of fluid or when the drainage system of the eye becomes blocked. The higher pressure inside the eye can causedamage to the optic nerve, resulting in permanent vision loss.
Our doctors at Eugene Eye Clinic provide diagnosis and treatment of glaucoma in Eugene, OR.
Types of Glaucoma
- Open-angle glaucoma (most common): fluid builds up in the eye due to a blockage in the trabecular meshwork which leads to elevated eye pressure.
- Angle-closure glaucoma: the iris blocks part of the angle of the eye so fluid cannot drain properly. This leads to a sudden increase in eye pressure and is a medical emergency.
- Congenital glaucoma: present at birth, the angle of the eye does not allow for proper drainage of fluid.
- Secondary glaucoma: this develops as a complication of another eye surgery, injury, disease or other eye conditions.
Watch the video below to learn more.
Risk Factors for Glaucoma
Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of blindness. It is estimated that over 3 million Americans have glaucoma but only half are aware of the condition. Although glaucoma can occur at any age, the risk of developing glaucoma increases dramatically after age 60. Other risk factors for glaucoma include:
- Family history of glaucoma
- Presence of diabetes, heart disease or high blood pressure
- Trauma to the eye
- Certain eye conditions (thin corneas, retinal detachment, etc.)
- Race (African Americans, Hispanics, Asians, Native Alaskans and Japanese are at higher risk)
- Naturally high intraocular pressure
Diagnosis of Glaucoma
In order to detect and diagnose glaucoma, our team may use several tests and techniques:
- OCT Scan: An Optical Coherence Topography (OCT) scan allows our team to view and take pictures of the different layers of your retina (the light-sensitive tissue at the back of your eye). Using light waves, the thickness of your retina can be measured and mapped.
- Matrix Visual Field: This test measures your peripheral vision, one eye at a time. You will be asked to stare at a central spot as you note when you can view dots in your side vision. The information gathered can show our team the severity of glaucoma as well as vision loss that has been sustained.
- Retinal Photography: Digital retinal imaging is used to take a high-resolution photograph of the back of your eye to diagnose or monitor glaucoma. With your eyes dilated, this process involves scanning your eyes with a laser to create digital images that can be interpreted. These images can also be compared over time to monitor changes in your retinal health.
Remember, vision loss from glaucoma is permanent but can usually be prevented with early detection and treatment. That means that regular eye exams are especially important for people over age 60 or those in other high-risk groups.
Contact us today to schedule an eye exam to find out if glaucoma is silently stealing your vision.