The Stealthy Danger of Glaucoma

Glaucoma can rob you of your sight. That’s why a glaucoma test is included in routine eye exams.

Glaucoma causes damage to the optic nerve, which communicates the images the eye processes to the brain. Traditionally, it was thought that high optic fluid pressure created glaucoma, and while eye pressure can be a factor, there can be other issues involved. People with normal eye pressure can also suffer from glaucoma.

And the biggest danger of glaucoma? Pardon the pun, but you may never see it coming.

Many people may never experience any glaucoma symptoms until significant damage to the eye has already occurred. That’s why, especially as you get older, that regular eye exams—at least every two years—are important. When detected early, your eye care specialist can create a treatment plan that can preserve your vision.

There are two major types of glaucoma: primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG) and angle-closure glaucoma (ACG). In primary open-angle glaucoma, the eye’s drainage canals become clogged over time, causing pressure to build up. Since the pressure increase is gradual, many people experience no symptoms at all until it’s too late.  In angle-closure glaucoma, the blockage of drainage from the eye occurs suddenly, and requires immediate medical attention.

Angle-closure glaucoma can manifest with symptoms. If you experience any of these, seek treatment from your eye doctor immediately:

  • Hazy or blurred vision
  • The appearance of rainbow-colored circles around bright lights
  • Severe eye and head pain
  • Nausea or vomiting (accompanying severe eye pain)
  • Sudden sight loss

The Ophthalmologists at DiStefano Eye Center use state-of-the-art diagnostics and treatment options for glaucoma patients in Chattanooga, East Tennessee, and North Georgia. They can use a variety of techniques to bring the disease under control, if it’s caught early enough. Persons over 40 years of age should have a comprehensive eye exam every two years. Those at risk for glaucoma should have an exam every year with a eye pressure test. Click here to schedule an appointment with DiStefano Eye Center, or simply call us at (423) 648-3937.