Glaucoma: Safeguarding Your Vision
Glaucoma stands as a leading cause of blindness in Canada, and its stealthy progression demands attention. This group of eye diseases gradually damages the optic nerve, resulting in irreversible vision loss and potential blindness if left unchecked. At Oasis Eyecare in Edmonton, we're committed to early detection, diagnosis, and management of glaucoma for your well-being.
The most common form of glaucoma is primary open-angle glaucoma, marked by elevated eye pressure due to fluid buildup. The exact cause remains uncertain, with theories suggesting inadequate blood supply or low perfusion.
- Primary Open-Angle Glaucoma: In this prevalent form, the eye continually produces aqueous fluid, which, if not drained properly, increases optic nerve pressure. Vision loss typically starts in the periphery before progressing to central vision.
- Angle-Closure Glaucoma: This rarer but critical variant can cause rapid vision loss. It occurs when the eye's drainage angle narrows, blocking fluid drainage and increasing eye pressure.
- Secondary Glaucoma: Resulting from various factors, such as injury, infection, medical conditions, medications, or eye abnormalities, this form elevates eye pressure.
- Normal-Tension Glaucoma: Eye pressure remains normal, yet optic nerve damage occurs. Possible causes include optic nerve sensitivity or reduced blood supply.
Early detection is crucial. Dr. Breanna Fletcher conducts tonometry during routine eye exams, measuring your eye's internal pressure. Additionally, she assesses your optic nerve, retina, drainage angle, and field of vision, using advanced equipment.
Treatment options include:
- Medications: Medications aim to lower intraocular pressure. Single or combination medications may be prescribed, adjusting as needed.
- Laser Surgery: Laser trabeculoplasty can enhance fluid drainage, but results may be temporary and require repeat procedures.
- Conventional Surgery: For uncontrolled or secondary glaucoma, a trabeculectomy filtering procedure may be necessary to create a drainage flap.
- Drainage Implants: This surgery inserts a small silicone tube to aid fluid drainage.
Glaucoma treatment can preserve vision, but it cannot restore lost vision. Consistent treatment, eye drops, laser surgery, and regular eye exams are vital for disease management.
Who's at Risk?
Several factors increase glaucoma risk:
- Age: The risk rises with age, particularly for those over 60.
- Family History: A family history of glaucoma heightens risk.
- Medical Conditions: Conditions like diabetes, blood pressure fluctuations, and heart disease may contribute.
- Physical Injuries: Severe eye trauma or injuries can lead to increased eye pressure.
- Other Eye-Related Factors: Eye anatomy, retinal detachment, tumours, and inflammation can play a role.
- Corticosteroid Use: Prolonged corticosteroid use may increase secondary glaucoma risk.
Early detection is the key to preserving your vision. At Oasis Eyecare in Edmonton, we're dedicated to your eye health. Schedule your eye exam today and safeguard your vision from the silent thief, glaucoma.