Glaucoma refers to a group of eye conditions in which increased fluid pressure inside the eye causes irreversible damage to the optic nerve. The optic nerve is responsible for carrying visual information from the eye to the brain. If left untreated, glaucoma will eventually lead to blindness. Glaucoma is the second most common cause of blindness in the United States, and first worldwide and can affect anyone at any age.
Types of Glaucoma
The four major types of glaucoma include:
Open-angle glaucoma is a chronic condition found primarily in adults, which slowly and painlessly manifests over time. It is the most common form of the affliction.
Angle-closure glaucoma is an acute condition found primarily in adults, which requires emergency treatment.
Congenital glaucoma is a hereditary condition that is present at birth, causing abnormal development of the fluid channels in the eye.
Secondary glaucoma is a systemic condition caused by other contributing factors such as drugs and other diseases.
While there is still no actual cure for glaucoma, Ophthalmology Associates does offer treatment options to slow the progression of the disease. The goal of any glaucoma treatment is to reduce eye pressure, as this is the inevitable cause of vision impairment. Depending on the type of glaucoma, medication and surgery are currently the only viable options. The most common treatment method prescribed is medicated eye drops, which reduce pressure and in some cases protect the optic nerve from further damage. Eye drops are usually prescribed to patients with open-angle and secondary glaucoma, and in some cases angle-closure. For those suffering from angle-closure glaucoma, the pain caused by an attack will dictate emergency medical attention. If left untreated, angle-closure glaucoma can result in blindness in a matter of days. Medicated eye drops or pills may be prescribed, but in all likelihood laser surgery will be necessary. Laser surgery for both angle-closure and congenital glaucoma reopens or creates new channels for fluid in the eye in order to reduce swelling. Laser surgery is available for open-angle glaucoma when eye drops fail or patent develops allergic reactions to medication.
While there may be no permanent cure for any type of glaucoma, there is no reason to forgo treatment in lieu of vision impairment and eventual blindness. Ophthalmology Associates offers a variety of treatments for all types of the eye condition. Please contact us today to schedule your personal consultation with one of our physicians; the sooner your glaucoma is diagnosed, the better chance there is of improving and ultimately saving, your vision.
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Ophthalmology Associates has been serving the greater Mankato area for over 50 years and our goal has been to provide our patients with the utmost in personal attention and the very best in eye care services. Contact us to set up your appointment today!