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If you're concerned about the possibility of developing the sight-stealing eye condition known as glaucoma, it helps to know as much as you can about this eye disease and the available treatments for getting it under control. Here are the answers to some frequently asked questions on the subject at Kopolow & Girisgen Doctors of Optometry in Las Vegas.
Glaucoma is actually a broad term that can apply to a number of different conditions, all of which cause optic nerve deterioration. Glaucoma is a leading cause of blindness.
Glaucoma is caused by elevated fluid pressure in the eye. This pressure can be the result of either an overproduction of vitreous fluid or blood within the eye or improper or insufficient drainage of this fluid. As more and more fluid enters the eye, the pressure builds until the optic nerve fibers become permanently damaged.
Risk factors for glaucoma include having high blood pressure or diabetes, being of Hispanic or African-American ethnicity, being over 40 years old, having an eye injury or damage which might interfere with proper fluid drainage, or having a family history of glaucoma.
Since glaucoma typically progresses for years before it starts to affect your vision, you could easily have glaucoma without realizing it. The only way to know for sure is by scheduling regular comprehensive eye exams.
Open-angle glaucoma is the most common kind of glaucoma. The drainage angle allows fluid to escape, but it works inefficiently. This condition may lead to a gradual loss of peripheral vision before the rest of your vision becomes affected.
Angle-closure glaucoma is a medical emergency in which the drainage angle becomes totally blocked or inoperative. Eye pain, headaches, nausea, and significant vision loss follow.
Our optometry clinic uses a technique called tonometry to evaluate internal fluid pressure. If the reading is high, you may have glaucoma. We also examine optic nerves directly for signs of damage and test your peripheral vision.
Our Las Vegas clinic can prescribe special eye drops, and possibly oral drugs as well, to reduce the production of fluid or improve drainage efficiency, thus regulating your eye pressure and preventing further damage to your optic nerves.
Give your eyes the best possible protection against glaucoma. Call any of our locations for an eye exam at our Las Vegas optometry clinic!