What is Glaucoma?
Glaucoma is an eye disorder that results from damage to the optic nerve. Often called the “silent thief of sight,” this degenerative eye disease slowly steals vision without readily apparent symptoms. If left untreated, glaucoma can lead to permanent vision damage or blindness. This is why it is so important to have regular eye exams. Otherwise, you may not realize this silent disease is damaging your vision.
Glaucoma is often caused by either a build-up of fluid pressure in the eyes due to an overproduction of fluid or when the drainage system of the eye becomes blocked. This pressure can damage your optic nerve and cause an irreversible loss of vision. The optic nerve connects your eye to your brain and carries visual information to your brain for processing. Your peripheral vision—side vision—is lost first. If glaucoma remains untreated, vision loss creeps in toward the center, first causing tunnel vision, and eventually, blindness.
There are several factors that increase your risks of developing glaucoma. These include high eye pressure (intraocular pressure-IOP), older age, or having a family history of glaucoma. Even if you don’t have any of these risk factors, you should still have regular eye exams.
Congenital Glaucoma: This condition occurs in infants who experience birth defects or have neurofibromatosis. You may be able to see symptoms by looking in the child’s eye. They may have clouded eyes, excessive tearing, sensitivity to light, and a protruding eyeball. If not diagnosed and treated immediately, it can result in blindness.
Chronic Open-angle Glaucoma (OAG): The optic nerve is slowly damaged in open-angle glaucoma, also called wide-angle glaucoma or primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG). Peripheral vision is slowly diminished and eventually may lead to full blindness if not treated.
Closed-angle Glaucoma (CAG): This type of glaucoma is characterized by a build-up of pressure stemming from blocked fluid in the eye. The fluid between the iris and the lens creates pressure that damages the optic nerve. It causes pain and sudden impairment of vision. Acute CAG requires emergency medical treatment because permanent vision loss can happen in a short period of time with this condition.
If glaucoma is detected early enough, the progress of the disease in most cases can be halted with medical and surgical treatment options. Jervey Eye Group offers advanced diagnostics for glaucoma, including visual field technology that tests for optic nerve damage with a non-intrusive device for measuring pressure within the eye, and scans that are able to measure the thickness of the optic nerve layers to the level of microns.
At Jervey Eye Group, we strive to keep you informed and educated regarding your eye health. As part of this effort, we offer a library of videos about glaucoma detection and treatment. Take a few minutes to explore, and if you have any questions, ask your doctor when you visit.
All of our doctors are trained to recognize and treat glaucoma issues. However, once significant risk or damage has occurred, our doctors will often refer to one of our partners who is a sub-specialist trained to manage the more severe cases. Our sub-specialty trained doctors are Dr. Ashley Lesley and Dr. Brian Welcome.
Our modern, efficient facilities include four offices in Greenville, Simpsonville, and Easley. Each offers one-stop convenience for examinations, eyewear selection, purchase, and fittings.