What is Glaucoma?
Glaucoma is an important cause of blindness. Glaucoma is a GROUP of disorders. What they all have in common is an increase in the pressure inside the eye. When the pressure is too high, damage occurs to the optic nerve. The optic nerve receives light from the retina and transmits impulses to the brain that we perceive as vision. The optic nerve is made up of a bundle of nerve fibers which sends signals to the brain. Damage to the optic nerve can initially cause blind spots at the outer edges of the field of vision called peripheral or side vision. This is the main sign of glaucoma.
How do I know if I have glaucoma?
Unfortunately glaucoma is typically associated with painless and progressive loss of vision that may escape detection by the patient. This once again stresses the importance of a thorough eye history and examination, especially in patients with a family history of glaucoma. Only one type of glaucoma called angle-closure glaucoma is associated with a red, painful eye with blurred vision and even possibly nausea and vomiting. This is due to very high pressures resulting FROM a block in the drainage system of the eye. Most patients at risk for this type of glaucoma have structural differences in their eye which could be identified prior to an attack and preventative treatment could be performed.