Glaucoma Specialist in Chicago
What Is Glaucoma?
Glaucoma as a condition is actually a combination of diseases that can affect the eye’s optic nerve, which connects the eye to the brain. When the optic nerve is damaged, it will not be able to send information from the eye to the brain effectively and thus impair vision. This disease mostly affects people who are in their 40’s or higher in age, and usually gets worse over time once it begins. Glaucoma affects over 3 million Americans today. With proper treatment and identification by an ophthalmologist, there are many options to live more safely with Glaucoma.
Causes of Glaucoma
It is known that eye pressure directly affects the optic nerve, and is thus closely related to Glaucoma. The most common cause of irregular may be elevated eye pressure is bad circulation of the fluids in the eyes. If there becomes a blockage in the eye, this can cause the eye’s pressure to increase and affect the optic nerve. The causes of such blockages aren’t completely known, but eye doctors do know that the condition may be hereditary. Eventually, if the optic nerve becomes permanently damaged as a result of eye pressure, it can cause marked or complete loss of vision. If there is a known case of glaucoma in your family, it is best to have regular checkups with an ophthalmologist to detect glaucoma as early as possible.
Types of Glaucoma
Though Glaucoma can be linked to many different causes, there are generally two groups that eye doctors have categorized the disease into.
Chronic Open-Angle Glaucoma
This is the most common type of glaucoma in America. The chance of developing this type of glaucoma increases with age. With chronic open-angle glaucoma, the eye gradually loses its ability to effectively drain the eye, resulting in increased eye pressure and damage to the optic nerve. Sometimes this causes the nerve to be sensitive to normal levels of eye pressure, which usually causes permanent damage to a patient’s vision. An individual with open-angle glaucoma must visit an ophthalmologist for treatment, otherwise it will almost certainly result in a complete loss of vision.
Symptoms of Chronic Open-Angle Glaucoma
Most people don’t experience strong symptoms in the beginning stages of open-angle glaucoma, and their vision seems to be normal. Eventually, as the optic nerve becomes more damaged, and blank spots may develop in the field of vision. Though they may seem small or insignificant at first, by the time they become large enough to affect day-to-day activities, the optic nerve will already have been significantly damaged. If you have experienced unusual blind spots in your vision, or have a history of glaucoma in your family, it is best to schedule a meeting with an ophthalmologist here at the Chicago office as soon as possible.
In some cases the iris, the colored part of the eye, is located very close to the drainage angle in the eye, where liquid is drained to relieve pressure in the eye. When the iris is too close to the drainage angle, it may become sucked into it and completely block it. If this happens the eye cannot drain any fluid and eye pressure rapidly increases. This will bring tremendous stress on the optic nerve and acutely damage vision leading to permanent vision loss.
Symptoms of Closed-Angle Glaucoma
- Blurry vision
- Rainbow-like halos over lights
- Extreme pain
People who have their iris located closely to the drainage angle are typically farsighted. If you experience any of these symptoms call an ophthalmologist immediately. This condition is an optical emergency and if not treated quickly, will almost certainly result in blindness. Most patients who experience a closed-angle glaucoma attack have little to no prior symptoms before the attack. If you have a history of glaucoma in your family, it is recommended to get regular eye checks with an ophthalmologist. Please fill out the form to the right) or call to schedule an appointment at the office in Chicago.