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Glaucoma is one of those eye conditions that sneaks up on its targets. This leading cause of blindness afflicts up to 3 million people in the U.S., yet only about half of these people even know they have the condition. The longer it goes undetected and untreated, the more permanent damage it can wreak on your eyes and vision. On the flip side, once glaucoma is treated, it can be controlled through a variety of treatment methods -- methods we're happy to provide for Lutz, Tampa and North Tampa residents here at Visionary Eye Care.
Glaucoma may be associated with various conditions, risks, and circumstances, but in any of its forms, the end result is optic nerve damage. Genetic or inherited factors, a previous eye surgery or injury, extended use of corticosteroids, and even the advent of middle age can all play a role in glaucoma's development. In most cases, the mechanism of damage is elevated fluid (aqueous humor) pressure in the eye. As the eye continuously manufactures this fluid, a drainage mesh is supposed to let excess fluid escape through the angle between the conjunctiva and the iris. When this drainage system fails, the buildup in pressure damages the optic nerve fibers irreversibly. There are two primary types of glaucoma:
Open-angle glaucoma - This common form of glaucoma occurs when the drainage system works sluggishly. It may cause no obvious symptoms for years before finally producing a loss of the first peripheral, and then central vision.
Angle-closure glaucoma - This less-common form of glaucoma is a medical emergency because Stit can produce serious vision loss in a matter of hours. In this scenario, the drainage angle becomes completely closed off, causing a rapid rise in pressure.
Since you may be harboring the necessary conditions for glaucoma without realizing it, it's critical that you get your eyes checked for this condition (and other lurking eye conditions) at Visionary Eye Care on a regular basis. Comprehensive eye exams can alert either of our North Tampa optometrists to the telltale signs of glaucoma. Tonometry, or pressure testing, is perhaps the best-known glaucoma test. We can also view inside the eyes to evaluate the optic nerves directly. Vision testing includes checks of peripheral vision so we can spot signs of glaucoma-related vision loss.
Medications can help regulate eye pressure to minimize future optic nerve damage from glaucoma. Special eye drops, sometimes supplemented with oral medications, can reduce the production of aqueous humor and/or help the drainage system work better. We can even refer you for simple, painless surgery to optimize eye drainage, co-managing your recovery and monitoring the results.
Glaucoma is a serious eye condition, but you have the power to keep it from destroying your eyesight. Call Visionary Eye Care today at (813) 425-9596 to schedule a comprehensive eye exam!
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