Glaucoma develops for years without causing symptoms, and by the time your vision changes, your optic nerve has already suffered irreparable damage. Arthur Astorino, MD, and Tram Ho, OD, at Astorino & Associates Eye Center routinely test for glaucoma during eye exams so they can detect glaucoma early and start treatment to protect your vision long before symptoms begin. To schedule an appointment, call the office in Newport Beach, California, or schedule an appointment online.
Glaucoma refers to a group of eye conditions that damage the optic nerve. In most cases, high eye pressure, which affects the optic nerve, causes glaucoma.
Eye pressure, called intraocular pressure, is naturally created by fluids inside your eyes. New fluid is constantly produced and released into each eye. To maintain a steady, normal pressure, an equal amount of fluid drains out of each eye.
When this system gets out of balance and fluid builds up, eye pressure increases and presses against the optic nerve. Over time, high eye pressure permanently damages the optic nerve, leading to vision loss.
While there are several types of glaucoma, primary open-angle glaucoma represents 90% of all cases. Primary open-angle glaucoma occurs when the drainage canals become clogged, and fluids drain too slowly.
Less common types of glaucoma include angle-closure glaucoma, normal-tension glaucoma, congenital glaucoma, and many variants of open-angle and angle-closure glaucoma.
In the early stages, glaucoma doesn’t cause symptoms. Your eye pressure can increase for years, gradually harming the optic nerve, and you still won’t have symptoms until enough of the optic nerve is damaged to affect your vision.
When symptoms appear, you start to lose peripheral vision or side vision. Over time, you lose central vision, which affects your ability to see straight ahead.
Angle-closure glaucoma is an exception. It typically occurs suddenly when the drainage system becomes completely blocked. This condition causes rapid, noticeable symptoms like intense eye pain, blurry vision, and nausea, and requires emergency eye care.
The lack of symptoms makes regular eye exams essential. During a comprehensive eye exam, your provider at Astorino & Associates Eye Center tests your eye pressure. After dilating your eyes, they can also examine your optic nerve for early signs of glaucoma.
Glaucoma treatment begins with medicated eye drops to lower your eye pressure. Your medication may reduce fluid production, increase drainage, or both. If your glaucoma continues to progress despite medication, your provider at Astorino & Associates Eye Center may recommend surgery to restore drainage.
The best way to protect your eyes is to schedule routine eye exams. Call Astorino & Associates Eye Center or schedule an appointment online now for glaucoma testing.