We asked Dr. Alicia Tobe from Professional Family Eye Care about Glaucoma and here is what she had to say:
Question: What is glaucoma?
Answer: Glaucoma is nerve loss on the nerve that connects the eye to the brain that results in gradual, progressive, and painless side vision loss. Not everyone with high eye pressures will develop glaucoma. Some people with low eye pressures will actually develop glaucoma.
Q. What causes glaucoma?
A: Glaucoma can be inherited. It can also be caused by trauma, severe infection, or severe inflammation of the eye.
Q. Who gets glaucoma?
A: Risk factors for glaucoma include: -
- A family history of glaucoma
- A history of an eye injury
- Severe nearsightedness
- Prescription corticosteroid use
- Age - glaucoma most often occurs after 40 years of age
- Ethnicity- African Americans and Hispanics have a higher risk
Q. How is glaucoma harmful to vision?
A: It causes progressive side vision loss which can lead to "tunnel vision" if left untreated.
Q. Will I go blind from glaucoma?
A: People will usually not go blind from glaucoma IF it is detected in the early stages through regular eye exams. The nerve loss which has already occurred is not reversible. Therefore, catching glaucoma in the early stages is very important for trying to prevent or slow the future nerve and vision loss.
Q. How can I tell if I have glaucoma?
A: Because of the gradual and painless nature of glaucoma, a person with early stage glaucoma will most likely not notice any vision changes. It can only be detected by a thorough eye exam.
Q. How is glaucoma detected?
A: Through a comprehensive eye exam and special imaging (Ultrasound-like OCT and visual field testing) instruments.
Q. How is glaucoma treated?
A: The treatment is most often a topical prescription eye drop.
Q. Can glaucoma be prevented?
A: Glaucoma cannot be prevented. The most important thing to know about glaucoma is that early detection and treatment through regular eye exams will result in less vision loss.