Education: Glaucoma

Early detection and treatment are the keys to preventing optic nerve damage and blindness from glaucoma. Come in for yearly examinations to check for glaucoma.

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Glaucoma

What is glaucoma?
Glaucoma is sometimes called the "silent thief of sight" because it typically causes no pain and produces no symptoms. However, glaucoma is a leading cause of blindness in the US, especially for older people.

Glaucoma is a disease of the optic nerve that carries the images we see to the brain. Glaucoma is typically, but not always, associated with elevated pressure in the eye. Elevated pressure in the eye can lead to irreversible damage to the optic nerve and affect the blood flow to the optic nerve resulting in a progressive, permanent loss of vision. Early detection and treatment are the keys to preventing optic nerve damage and blindness from glaucoma.

Quality Eye Doctors In Medford, Oregon

There are two different types of glaucoma:

  • Chronic open-angle glaucoma: This is the most common glaucoma that occurs as a result of aging. The "drainpipe" of the eye becomes less efficient with time and pressure within the eye gradually increases.
  • Angle-closure glaucoma: Sometimes the drainage angle of the eye becomes completely blocked. When eye pressure builds up rapidly, it is considered acute angle-closure glaucoma.

Who gets glaucoma and what are the symptoms?
Glaucoma mainly occurs in adults over 40, but it can affect people of any age including children. Risk factors for glaucoma include a family history of the disease, African-Americans, Latinos, Asians, highly myopic (near-sighted) patients, and diabetic patients.

In chronic open-angle glaucoma there are initially no symptoms. This can damage vision so gradually and painlessly that you’re not aware of trouble until the optic nerve is already badly damaged. In contrast, angle-closure glaucoma is rare but is more noticeable. The pressure in the eye increases rapidly and causes severe eye pain, blurred vision, headache, rainbow haloes around lights and even nausea and vomiting.

Come in for yearly examinations to check for glaucoma. If you have any risk factors for glaucoma, Dr. Barrus, Dr. Schultz, or Dr. Rutar will perform an evaluation to examine your peripheral vision, eye pressure, optic nerve, and the drainage system in your eye.

What treatment options are recommended for glaucoma?
After a thorough evaluation, Dr. Barrus, Dr. Schultz, or Dr. Rutar will advise you on the best treatment. Generally, damage caused by glaucoma cannot be reversed. However, eye drops, pills, laser and surgical operations are used to prevent or slow further damage from occurring. Click here to learn more about our approach to glaucoma treatment and surgery options.