Do I have glaucoma and how to help prevent the progression

Every week, I get countless amount of patients who come in worried about glaucoma. Usually they know of a family member who had visual issues due to glaucoma or have another risk factor for the condition. Well first off, what is glaucoma?

Definition:
According to the American Association of Ophthalmology, Glaucoma is a disease the damages the optic nerve due to fluid build up in the front part of your eye. Just as we have blood pressure, there is intraocular pressure (eye pressure) that is critical in helping the eye function. When that pressure gets elevated it can have disasterous effect on the eye.

Symptoms:
Patient can often have no symptoms and that is why its critical to have an annual checkup so your eye doctor can check for any signs of glaucoma. During the eye exam, an ophthalomlogist will check your eye pressure, see if your angle is open, and make sure your nerves are healthy. This is so important as preventive measures are the best way to make sure your eyes will never have any issues.

Causes:
Patient who have a family history can often have a higher risk. In additon, patient with past trauma to the eye, older age patients, and patients on long term steriods can also have increased risks. It is important to note that regardless patients should hae an annual check-up to make sure their nerves are healthy.

Treatment:
Many times, if the doctor suspect any issue, they will just observe the patient to make sure the pressure does not increase or the nerve does not worsen. If there looks to be a risk, patients can often be started on drops. These drops are taken once to twice daily and help reduce the pressure in the eye. In addition, selective laser trabeculoplasty have also been shown to help. This is a laser that is used to help increase outflow and decrease pressure in the eye. At South Bronx Eyes, we are one of the few centers in the bronx that have the laser in our office.

Author
David Alevi MD David Alevi is a board certified corneal specialist and founder of South Bronx Eyes.

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