As the leading cause of blindness in people over the age of 60, glaucoma is often called the silent thief of sight because the disease is symptomless. At Dr. Gundersheimer’s Eye-Do Optical in Sherman, Texas, Jerry Gundersheimer, OD offers glaucoma screening and treatment to protect and preserve your sight. If you haven’t had your eyes checked recently, especially if you have a family history of glaucoma, call or schedule an appointment online today for a comprehensive eye exam and glaucoma screening.
What is glaucoma?
Glaucoma is a dangerous eye disease in which pressure builds up in your eye and damages your optic nerve. There are two types of glaucoma: open-angle and closed-angle.
The most common form of the disease is open-angle glaucoma. It develops when the drainage angles in your eye don’t allow extra fluid to drain from your eye as efficiently as they should. This form of the disease usually develops slowly and doesn’t cause symptoms until you start to notice blurred or blind spots in your peripheral vision.
Closed-angle glaucoma is less common and develops when your iris is too close to your drainage angles and blocks them. Closed-angle glaucoma often develops in an acute attack where symptoms like blurred vision, eye pain, and nausea develop rapidly. You may also have chronic closed-angle glaucoma, which usually develops slowly and doesn’t cause symptoms until you experience an acute attack.
What causes glaucoma?
Your eyes continuously produce a fluid called aqueous humor — the clear liquid that keeps your eyes inflated. Your eyes have drainage angles that allow extra fluid to leave your eye, so the perfect balance and pressure are maintained.
However, when your drainage angles are blocked or malfunctioning, the fluid can’t drain, and as it builds up in your eye, the pressure within your eye increases. This extra pressure can damage your optic nerve.
If you have a family history of glaucoma, your chances of developing the disease are higher. Also, if you have diabetes or high blood pressure, your risk of high eye pressure increases.
How is glaucoma diagnosed?
Glaucoma doesn’t usually cause symptoms, so having eye exams regularly is the best way to monitor your eye health and check for signs of increased eye pressure. The most common glaucoma test is medically referred to as non-contact tonometry (NCT). You might recognize NCT as the “puff of air” test.
While this test might make you jump out of your seat, it’s an effective way for Dr. Gundersheimer to measure the pressure in your eye. If your results are high, Dr. Gundersheimer can perform additional testing to confirm your diagnosis.
How is glaucoma treated?
Dr. Gundersheimer offers customized treatment to address your specific type of glaucoma and its severity. Unfortunately, there’s no way to reverse the nerve damage caused by glaucoma, but when it’s caught early, he can prescribe medicated eye drops to open your drainage angles to preserve your eye health and vision.
In some cases, you may need a surgical procedure to open your drainage angles. Dr. Gundersheimer discusses your treatment options with you and recommends the best treatment to protect your sight.
Call or schedule an appointment online today for a comprehensive eye exam including glaucoma screening.