Eye health isn’t something we think much about. Most of our life, our eyes will provide us with the sense of sight we expect. However long we’ve relied on our eyesight, it is important to recognize that this is a sense that can diminish. Many people have some degree of expectation that their eyes will degrade with age. This doesn’t have to be. A healthy diet and good lifestyle habits like wearing sunglasses can go a long way in preventing eye disease. We believe the more our patients know, the better. Here, we want to point out important details about one of the leading causes of blindness: glaucoma.
- Glaucoma won’t warn you.
When you catch a cold, you can count on your body to tell you. Your nose may run or become congested; you may sneeze often. Even the eyes can alert you to an unwanted change. When the lens of the eye starts to lose flexibility, your eyesight will change and you may rely on reading glasses more often. Glaucoma is one of the very few eye conditions that provide absolutely no obvious warning in the form of symptoms. It isn’t until compression has damaged the optic nerve that symptoms occur. And the primary symptom is vision loss.
- Glaucoma is a fluid issue.
There are a few different ways in which glaucoma can occur. In most situations, this condition starts with an accumulation of fluid in the central part of the eye. It is here that the fluid called aqueous humor “inflates” the eye so it holds a spherical shape. The aqueous humor is produced in the ciliary body and is drained from the eye through a matrix of vessels. When fluid does not drain, the pressure inside of the eye increases. This increase then presses on the optic nerve, causing injury over time.
- Your doctor can spot the signs of glaucoma.
The primary symptom of glaucoma is an increase in intraocular pressure. This is not something that can be felt, which is why we say there are no warning signs. Therefore, for glaucoma to be found, it is necessary to undergo an eye exam. During a routine eye exam, one of the tests that is typically conducted is tonometry, a measurement of intraocular pressure. If the pressure inside of the eye measures higher than 20 mmHg, additional tests may be recommended. These follow up screenings may look at the optic nerve, the retina, and the blood vessels of the eye.
We proudly serve Ocala and surrounding areas. To learn more about glaucoma, schedule a visit with us at (352) 237-8400.