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Glaucoma: Signs? What Signs?

Eye health is about more than the clarity of your vision. Every person is going to rely on their eyes to provide them with sight for decades upon decades. Aging may change certain aspects of the eye, but information provides each individual with the best opportunity to avoid potentially serious conditions like glaucoma. Seeing that this eye disease is the second leading cause of blindness in the world, glaucoma is an important topic of discussion. Some points we think you should know include:

  1. Don’t expect any warning signs.

When the lens of the eye starts to become rigid with age, we get signs like having to squint to read labels or street signs. Glaucoma is not so forthcoming with information. This condition slowly affects the retina and the optic nerve over time. As these structures are sustaining damage, there are no indications. It is only when substantial and irreparable damage has been done that part or all of a person’s vision simply disappears. Because vision loss results from damage to the optic nerve, it cannot be reversed.

  1. Early detection is vital to preserving eyesight.

Wait. Didn’t we just say there are no warning signs to alert you your eyesight is even at risk? We did say that. Here’s why information is so powerful; your eye doctor can detect signs of glaucoma. The only sign, actually. During a routine eye exam, your eye doctor should conduct what is called tonometry. A small instrument can quickly obtain an accurate measurement of the pressure within the eye (intraocular pressure). Pressure greater than 20 mmHg indicates a potential buildup of fluid within the central chamber of the eye and calls for further exploration with additional tests.

  1. Pressure increase stems from fluid accumulation.

There are many working parts of the eyes. The central chamber of fluid called aqueous humor is responsible for holding the spherical shape of the eye. This fluid is produced in the ciliary body and it gradually drains through the sclera into a matrix of vessels outside of the eye. This process occurs naturally without our knowing, and it is how pressure in the eye remains stable. When fluid does not escape the eye faster than it is produced, intraocular pressure builds. This pressure compresses the optic nerve at the back of the eye. The chronic pressure causes the nerve to deteriorate and no longer transmit light to the brain for interpretation.

Schedule Your Eye Exam Today

Routine eye exams are vital to understanding your risk for eye diseases like glaucoma. To schedule a comprehensive exam in our Winchester, VA office, call (540) 722-6200.

Posted in: Glaucoma

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