Does Glaucoma Have Any Warning Signs?

woman holding glasses while reading book

Do you assume that you know when something is wrong with your health? Most people at least feel confident that they know when they need to see a doctor.

If you have glaucoma, however, by the time you notice something is wrong, it is already too late. Glaucoma is also known as “the silent thief of sight” because it can steal your eyesight with almost no warning signs.

Keep reading to learn more about glaucoma and if you can detect it.

What is Glaucoma?

Glaucoma is a painless disease that can cause complete vision loss. It works so slowly that you likely won’t even know something is wrong.

If your vision gradually degrades over time, as it does when you have glaucoma, your brain can compensate for the small losses. That means your brain is tricking you into thinking you can see well until you can’t see at all.

Even worse, there is no cure for glaucoma. Once you develop the disease, you have it forever.

There is good news, though. Glaucoma is not a death sentence for your vision, as long as you catch it early.

An ophthalmologist can detect glaucoma in its early stages. And through ongoing treatment, you can manage the progression of it.

How Does Glaucoma Cause Vision Loss?

Glaucoma damages your eyesight by damaging the optic nerve. This series of nerve fibers connects your eye to your brain, which makes it a critical part of your eyesight.

Most glaucoma begins when a partial blockage forms in the drainage angle in your eye. This meshwork system should allow eye fluid to pass through it after the fluid has cycled through your eye.

But, if the fluid enters the eye faster than it can leave, pressure begins to build. As the pressure increases, it presses on the optic nerve and eventually kills the tissue.

How fast glaucoma causes vision loss depends on the person and type of glaucoma. Some people have more durable optic nerves than others. Some types of glaucoma move faster than others.

But the pressure does not stop on its own, so even the most robust optic nerve will experience damage eventually. A rarer version of glaucoma is the result of a total blockage of the drainage meshwork. 

It causes rapid vision loss and is a medical emergency. This form of glaucoma has very obvious warning signs, like nausea, headaches, and eye pain. If you notice these symptoms, seek medical attention immediately. 

Treating Glaucoma

Constant medication is the only way to halt the progress of glaucoma. This medication comes in the form of eye drops, although some people may also need to take an oral dose.

These medications reduce elevated internal eye pressure and help maintain normal pressure. They do this in a few different ways.

One is by slowing down the creation of eye fluid. The other is by relaxing the muscles inside the eye to allow fluid to exit easier. Some medications do both.

Glaucoma drops require a regular application schedule to be effective. As soon as the application stops, eye pressure will rise, and vision loss will continue. 

Early Detection is Vital

Saving your vision from glaucoma is possible as long as you catch it early. It is practically a symptomless disease, so only an eye doctor can detect it.

Glaucoma tests measure the pressure inside your eyes. Your eye doctor can compare your eye pressure with a typical glaucoma-free eye. If your eye doctor thinks you have glaucoma, they will run more tests to ensure an accurate diagnosis.

Worried you have glaucoma? Keep your eyesight. Schedule an appointment at Rosenthal Eye Surgery and Fifth Avenue EyeCare in Great Neck, NY. Make sure your eyes are safe!

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