Glaucoma Hero

How Glaucoma Develops

Glaucoma is a serious eye disease that occurs when the optic nerve, responsible for sending visual information from the eyes to the brain, becomes damaged.

Because our eyes are fueled by the mechanics of our body, it knows to continually produce the fluid necessary for regular eye function. In a healthy system, this fluid drains from the eye as needed, is replenished and the cycle is repeated. However, in cases of glaucoma, this fluid does not drain, resulting in extreme pressure on the eye, called intraocular pressure, or IOP. This high pressure can damage the optic nerve and lead to permanent vision loss and even blindness.

What Causes Glaucoma?

There are several reasons why glaucoma can occur. Some reasons and risk factors include:

People over the age of 60 are at increased risk. This is due to the natural aging of the eye.

Some people are more susceptible to glaucoma than others. For example, glaucoma is highly prevalent in African American patients over 40 and people of Asian descent are often at a higher risk of closed-angle glaucoma.

Having a family history of glaucoma can increase the risk of developing the disease. Similarly, if thin corneas run in the family, you can be at higher risk of glaucoma.

Eye injuries, punctures and certain irritations can increase the pressure in the eye. If not dealt with, over time these conditions that result in glaucoma.

It has been shown that glaucoma can form from other medical conditions, such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease. If you have these conditions, you could be at risk.

Protect Your Optic Nerve

Glaucoma is often ominously referred to as “the thief of sight” for its pervasive nature and silent manifestation. A leading contributor of blindness in the US, it is estimated that 3 million Americians will have Glaucoma by the year 2020.

Glaucoma shows not obvious or immediate symptoms. In many cases, by the time you are showing symptoms of vision loss, the damage has already been done.

The best prevention is regular vigilance in the form of regular eye exams. Book your appointment today.

Glaucoma Types

The reason the fluid does not drain from the eye is dependant on the type of glaucoma present.

In the eye there is a drainage angle – the space between the cornea and iris – that must be large enough for fluid to properly drain. In open-angle glaucoma, the angle is large enough, however the drainage canals are blocked. This type of glaucoma is the most common type of glaucoma and damage is slow, painless and unassuming. As a result, the only way to detect it is through your annual eye exam.

Closed-angle, or narrow-angle, glaucoma occurs when the angle between the iris and the cornea is not large enough to allow for proper fluid drainage. There are a few reasons this can occur, including:

  • Genetics
  • Cataracts
  • Inflammatory conditions, such as uveitis
  • Diabetes and other vascular conditions

Closed-angle glaucoma is less common and the symptoms can be immediate and without warning. If you are experiencing sudden vision loss, coupled with pain and nausea, contact us or seek alternate medical attention immediately.

Secondary glaucoma forms from another primary condition. This could be another type of eye disease or injury, from certain medications or other eye abnormalities.

This type of glaucoma, also known as low-tension glaucoma, is fairly rare. In this type, fluid drains properly and eye pressure remains within the “normal” range, but the optic nerve is still damaged.

While the reasons for this aren’t clear, it is thought that people who develop normal tension glaucoma may have an overly sensitive optic nerve or a compromised blood supply.

The Importance of Annual Eye Exams

Glaucoma is manageable, but the efficacy of the treatment relies on early detection. To help safeguard your vision from glaucoma, all comprehensive eye exams performed at Ashburn Eyecare Associates include glaucoma testing. All eye exams performed at our office are MOA approved, and incorporate advanced diagnostic techniques.

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Ashburn

Our Ashburn location is conveniently located in the Ashburn Shopping Plaza, next to the UPS Store.

(703) 726-0005

44050 Ashburn Village Blvd. Suite 163
Ashburn, VA 20147

Monday:    9:30am – 6:00pm

Tuesday:    9:30am – 7:30pm

Wednesday:    9:30am – 6:00pm

Thursday:    9:30am – 6:00pm

Friday:        9:30am – 5:00pm

Saturday:    8:00am – 2:00pm

Chantilly

Our Chantilly location is conveniently located on Centreville Road, next to Chantilly Chiropractic.

(703) 830-6380

3910 Centreville Road, Suite 100
Chantilly, VA 20151

Monday:    9:30am – 6:00pm

Tuesday:    9:30am – 6:00pm

Wednesday:    9:30am – 6:00pm

Thursday:    9:30am – 6:00pm

Friday:        9:30am – 5:00pm

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