Glaucoma is a long-lasting, permanent condition that does not cause immediate blindness. Damage to eyesight caused by glaucoma is most often seen as dark patches or areas of blindness. Patients with glaucoma can maintain 20/20 eyesight, but will see dark patches in their field of vision that can become bigger if glaucoma gets worse.
Patients and caregivers often have many questions about glaucoma. The most commonly asked questions include:
No. Glaucoma is not usually painful. Glaucoma is often called the sneak thief of sight because it usually has no warning signs except for gradual loss of eyesight over time.
Finding out early that you have high eye pressure, getting proper treatment, and listening to your eye doctor are the best ways to prevent loss of eyesight caused by the most common type of glaucoma.
Eye pressure is created by fluid that is continually produced by your eyes. This fluid creates pressure and gives your eyes their shape. It is normal for all people to have eye pressures that are within a healthy range. However, high eye pressure can slowly cause damage to the optic nerve. The optic nerve sends images from your eyes to your brain so that you can see. When the optic nerve is harmed, patients with glaucoma slowly lose eyesight as seen by dark patches or areas of blindness. The scientific term for eye pressure is intraocular pressure (IOP).
Many individuals, typically over the age of 60, are diagnosed with cataracts; the clouding of the lens in the eye. Trauma to the eye or certain medications may lead to glaucoma or cataracts. It is important to be well informed of the possible side effects of medications. Although some patients have both cataracts and glaucoma, having glaucoma does not necessarily mean that you will get cataracts and having cataracts does not necessarily mean that you will get glaucoma.
While there is no cure for glaucoma, there are many different treatment options that help prevent the loss of eyesight caused by high eye pressure and glaucoma. Dr. Winthrop will help you to control your eye pressure with regular eye exams and continued treatment.