Questions about Glaucoma

What is glaucoma?

Glaucoma is an eye condition caused by intraocular pressure, or a buildup of fluid inside the eye. Glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness among Americans.

glaucoma faq patel eye associates new jerseyWhat causes glaucoma?

The eye is filled with aqueous humor, the clear fluid in the front of the eye, and vitreous humor, a clear, jelly-like substance behind the lens which helps the eyeball retain its shape. In a normal eye, circulation and drainage occurs regularly through tiny channels that work much like a filtration system. If these channels become blocked, drainage ceases, and pressure builds up within the eye, causing the condition known as glaucoma. While glaucoma can be hereditary, you will not necessarily inherit the condition. Learn more about glaucoma risk factors.

Do different types of glaucoma exist?

Two types of glaucoma exist. Primary open-angle glaucoma is the most common type, occurring when fluid in the eye cannot drain properly. Acute angle-closure glaucoma occurs when normal fluid drainage cannot occur because the angle between the iris and the cornea is too narrow or the pupil opens too wide.

Why is glaucoma a serious condition?

Over time, this intraocular pressure may damage the delicate optic nerve responsible for transmitting images to the brain. If glaucoma is not treated promptly, it may lead to permanent vision loss.

What are the symptoms of glaucoma?

Glaucoma may cause no symptoms at all in the early stages, or symptoms may be so mild you may not seek treatment. In some cases, glaucoma is first noted during a routine eye exam. In other cases, damage to the optic nerve and significant vision changes are your first clue something may be wrong. Other symptoms might include gradual loss of peripheral vision, severe eye pain, nausea and vomiting, blurred vision, ‘halos’ around lights, and eye redness. These symptoms do not automatically indicate glaucoma. Therefore, a prompt and thorough eye examination is needed to make a correct diagnosis.

How can I prevent glaucoma?

Preventive steps include regular glaucoma screenings at least once every two years after age 40. Moderate exercise has been shown to reduce intraocular pressure. If you engage in sports, home improvement projects, or similar activities, wear protective eyewear.

What are my glaucoma treatment options?

Treatment depends largely on the severity of your condition. Eye doctors in New Jersey, Dr. Hitesh K. Patel and Dr. Himanshu S. Shah may recommend special eye drops, laser vision surgery, trabeculectomy, or drainage implants. Trabeculectomy is an outpatient surgical procedure which relieves intraocular pressure by removing part of the eye’s tissue located near the ciliary body, the structure responsible for draining fluid from the eye. Drainage implants also reduce intraocular pressure. Dr. Patel and Dr. Shah may choose to perform endoscopic laser photocoagulation, a procedure to treat glaucoma and cataracts.

Please contact our NJ eye doctors today to schedule your glaucoma screening in New Brunswick, Edison and Middlesex, New Jersey.

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