What is Glaucoma?
Glaucoma is a disease that is typically associated with increased pressure inside the eye. The liquid that maintains the necessary pressure within the eye is called vitreous. When vitreous cannot drain properly, pressure becomes excessive. This pressure can compress the optic nerve, causing injury to the delicate nerve tissues, and eventually resulting in a loss of sight.
There are many types of glaucoma, including closed angle and open angle glaucoma. Closed angle glaucoma is painful and usually develops suddenly. Open angle glaucoma, on the other hand, is also known as the “silent thief” because it tends to develop over a longer period of time without exhibiting symptoms. Once symptoms are noticeable, damage incurred by the disease may be irreparable.
Prevalence and Risk Factors
Glaucoma is one of the primary causes of vision loss worldwide, accounting for as much as 12% of all new cases of blindness every year. In the U.S. alone, glaucoma is second only to cataracts in causing vision loss. Although it is more commonly observed in older patients, there are juvenile forms of the disease as well. Even babies can be born with this disease. Higher rates of glaucoma occur in certain populations, such as African Americans, who are roughly 15 times more likely to develop glaucoma than Caucasians. Higher rates also occur in those with a family history of glaucoma, hypertension, and diabetes.
The Importance of Early Detection
The most effective test for glaucoma starts with a dilated eye exam. It has also been estimated that more than 2 million people in the U.S. already have glaucoma, and roughly half that number are actually aware of it.
Although there is no cure for glaucoma, available treatments are available to reduce intraocular pressure and preserve the optic nerve. In most cases, early detection and treatment can effectively manage glaucoma and even prevent blindness. Many cases can be treated with medicated eye drops, while advanced cases may require more invasive treatments.
Contact Our Practice
At Utah Eye Associates, we feature a wide range of diagnostic and treatment options for glaucoma, macular degeneration, cataracts, and many other diseases of the eye. We also carry a full line of glasses, contacts and specialty eyewear.
Dr. Masihdas uses the very latest methods to test for glaucoma and other eye disorders. Our friendly staff is happy to assist you in setting up a private consultation, and can recommend appropriate testing and treatments. To schedule an exam and learn more about our available services, contact us today.