California Retina Specialist
The second leading cause of blindness in this country is glaucoma. At Retina Associates of Orange County, each California retina specialist has treated many patients who suffer with the condition. If you are having issues and suspect you have developed glaucoma, contact our office today to set up a consultation with a member of our medical team. In the meantime, the following is a brief overview of the condition, including symptoms and treatment options.
What causes glaucoma?
There are many factors that can cause glaucoma, they are all related to optic nerve damage. This damage prohibits the brain from receiving the visual information that is sent from the eye, which causes vision loss.
The exact cause of glaucoma is not known; however, retina specialists do understand the basic characteristics of the condition. The most common type of glaucoma is referred to as primary open-angle. This type occurs when the eye is unable to drain fluids, which causes increased pressure to build in the eye and damages the optic nerve. There may even be changes to the blood supply that feeds the optic nerve, damaging the nerve and causing loss of vision.
Another type of glaucoma, although not as common as primary open-angle, is referred to as angle-closure glaucoma. This type happens when the drainage angle between the cornea and iris becomes blocked. With nowhere to go, the fluid builds up and can cause permanent damage to the vision. This condition can occur so rapidly that permanent vision loss can happen within one day of the drainage being blocked.
Other causes of glaucoma include eye conditions, medical conditions, medication use, or physical injury.
Who is at risk for glaucoma?
A California retina specialist knows there are certain groups of people who are more at risk of developing glaucoma, including:
- Age: When people reach the age of 60, they are more at risk of developing glaucoma. That risk increases somewhat each year from 61 on.
- Ethnic backgrounds: African Americans have a significantly higher risk of glaucoma than Caucasians which increases after the age of 40. Asians have a much greater risk of developing angle-closure glaucoma than other ethnic groups. Individuals of Japanese descent are at a high risk of developing low-tension glaucoma.
- Family history: Individuals who have immediate family members who have been diagnosed with glaucoma are more at risk of developing the disease themselves. This fact has led researchers to believe that there may be genetic factors to the condition.
- History of corticosteroid use: One of the most common treatments for inflammation caused by arthritis, physical injury, or other condition is corticosteroids. These medications may increase the patient’s risk of glaucoma.
- Medical conditions: Certain medical conditions also put people at risk of glaucoma, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure.
How is glaucoma treated?
A California retain specialist from Retina Associates of Orange County will conduct a thorough eye exam to determine if a patient has glaucoma. This may include checking the pressure in the patient’s eyes, evaluating the retinas, measuring the thickness of the corneas, assessing any abnormal anatomy of the eye, and testing for any vision changes. When glaucoma is diagnosed early, doctors are often able to prevent any further vision loss. Treatments usually include medications to relieve pressure or surgery.