Glaucoma may be the “silent thief of sight,” but you can catch it with early detection. At Egan Eye Associates in Frisco, Texas, therapeutic optometrist Katherine Egan, OD, protects your vision by diagnosing and treating glaucoma. Schedule an eye exam, including a glaucoma screening, by calling the front office.
Glaucoma is a disease of the optic nerve. Your optic nerve connects your eyes to your brain. The optic nerve is made up of many nerve fibers that carry visual information from your retinas, which your brain uses to form images, allowing you to see.
Glaucoma results from pressure on your optic nerve. Your eyes contain a fluid called aqueous humor, which nourishes your corneas and regulates your pressure in your eye, among other important functions. Aqueous humor is supposed to drain freely, but when it can’t, it builds up and puts pressure on your optic nerve.
If glaucoma is untreated, the pressure gets worse and continues to damage your optic nerve. Eventually, the disease can lead to blindness. However, with early detection, glaucoma is highly treatable, and serious vision loss is usually preventable.
Glaucoma develops slowly and only causes noticeable symptoms after it causes permanent, irreversible vision damage. That’s why it’s known as the “silent thief of sight.”
Regular eye exams are the best way to catch glaucoma early. Dr. Egan tests the pressure in your eyes and performs an imaging test called a retinography to look for signs of optic nerve damage.
Glaucoma usually affects both eyes. In most cases, it affects peripheral (side) vision first, so people with advanced glaucoma may have clear central vision, but no side vision. However, it can eventually damage central vision as well, leading to blindness.
You should get screened for glaucoma every four years starting at age 40 and every two years starting at the age of 65. Dr. Egan may recommend more frequent screenings, starting at a younger age, if you have any risk factors. A family history of glaucoma, as well as conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure, point to an elevated risk of the disease.
If you have early-stage glaucoma, Dr. Egan can prescribe medication, in either eye drop or pill form. Medication can relieve some of the pressure in your eye by reducing fluid production or helping the fluid in your eye drain more easily. Though you can’t regain the vision you’ve already lost, this can prevent the pressure (and your vision) from getting worse.
Dr. Egan may refer you to an ophthalmologist if you have advanced glaucoma or if medication isn’t enough to control the pressure in your eye. An ophthalmologist can treat your glaucoma with minimally invasive surgery. Procedures can fix the drainage system in your eye or create a new drainage channel.
To schedule an eye exam including a glaucoma screening or learn more about treatment options, schedule an appointment at Egan Eye Associates online or over the phone.