Glaucoma is a complex disease associated with the build-up of fluid pressure inside the eye that can damage the optic nerve. The optic nerve, a bundle of over a million nerve fibers, transmits the message of sight from the eye to the brain. In glaucoma, the nerve fibers carrying peripheral vision are affected first. This reduction in side vision can be gradual and is usually asymptomatic. By the time it affects central or reading vision, tremendous damage to the nerve has already occurred.
To understand what’s happening with glaucoma, imagine the eye as a sink with water. The clear fluid inside the eye (aqueous humor, produced by the ciliary body) and is always flowing into and out of the eye, just like a sink with an open faucet and drain. As long as the drain is open, a sink won’t overflow. But if anything happens to block the drain, the water level rises and spills over the edge. Since the eye is a closed ball, blockage to its drain (the trabecular meshwork) and pipe (Schlemm’s canal) doesn’t cause aqueous to overflow or leak out. It has nowhere to overflow. Rather, the eye’s fluid pressure increases and damages the optic nerve.
Virtually no one should be blinded from glaucoma. Treatments are highly effective and, while vision already lost cannot be restored, the significant further loss can be avoided. The most important ingredient in successful glaucoma management is patient compliance. Continuous pressure control is possible only by strictly following your treatment plan…and that is primarily up to you. In most cases, the only people who become blind from glaucoma are those who do so before their condition is diagnosed or who do not follow their doctor’s advice and treatment regimen.
There are many medical reasons to get your eyes examined. Unfortunately many believe that if their vision is good their eyes must be good. This belief is wrong and dangerous. Many things can happen that causes permanent vision impairment. The best way to avoid problems is with an annual eye exam with the Optomap or dilation. Our doctors are able to treat many different medical conditions. If it is beyond our care we have a network of trusted Ophthalmologist that we contact for you.