Glaucoma Management in Calgary
We believe in a proactive approach when it comes to taking care of our people's eye disease.
We use the latest microscopic, 3D, cross-sectional retinal imaging instruments to accurately monitor your optic nerve and co-manage with all of the ophthalmologists in Calgary.
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What is Glaucoma?
Glaucoma is a group of eye conditions that affect and damage the optic nerve. This affects your eyesight because the optic nerve must remain healthy for good vision. Usually, the damage from glaucoma is due to abnormally high pressure in your eye. It is one of the top causes of blindness in adults over 60 years old. While it can occur at any age, glaucoma is most common in adults.
There is more than one type of glaucoma; some of these types are as follows.
Open-angle glaucoma is the most common form of glaucoma, occurring when the drainage angle that is formed by the cornea and itis remains open, but the trabecular meshwork is partially blocked, increasing pressure in the eye.
Angle-closure glaucoma is when the iris bulges forward to narrow or block the drainage angle. This can also be more common in people who already have narrow drainage angles in their eyes.
Normal-tension glaucoma occurs when the optic nerve sustains damage, even though the pressure in the eye is normal. This could be because you have a more sensitive optic nerve.
Pigmentary glaucoma happens when pigments from the iris build-up to slow or block fluid draining from the eye in the drainage channels.
What are the first signs that glaucoma is developing?
One of the most common symptoms of developing glaucoma is varying levels of vision loss, especially if it occurs suddenly. Specifically, the loss of peripheral vision is usually the first sign of glaucoma. If you see halos or rainbow-coloured circles around light or are extra sensitive to light, you may have glaucoma. Other symptoms include tunnel vision, redness in the eye, often accompanied by pain in the eye, and eyes that look hazy or dusty. A dusty-looking cornea can especially be a sign of childhood glaucoma. Pain in the eye or in the head is often a sign of angle-closure glaucoma, which is one of the types of glaucoma that develops more quickly. Nausea and vomiting can also accompany this sort of intense eye pain.
Different types of glaucoma do show alternate symptoms. If you experience any of these symptoms, you should seek medical help and have your eyes examined.
Can glaucoma be stopped?
There is not a cure for glaucoma at this time. However, there are treatment methods that you can implement if the glaucoma is detected early enough. Early detection, as well as continued monitoring of eye health, can limit the vision loss that glaucoma causes. Glaucoma is treated by lowering your eye pressure, also known as intraocular pressure. This may be achieved by using drugs, laser surgery, or traditional surgery. It is important to note that this will only preserve the vision that you have left; it does not restore your previous or lost vision.
Regular eye exams are suggested for glaucoma prevention, in order to detect issues early. It is also important to be aware of family history with eye health. As with any disease, if you have a family history of glaucoma, you and your eye doctor can more closely monitor your eye health to see if glaucoma is developing. If you are at increased risk, you will likely need a more frequent screening schedule as well. Serious eye injuries can lead to glaucoma, so it is also important to wear eye protection, especially when using power tools or engaging in certain sports or activities.
What happens when you have glaucoma?
The fluid inside your eye, known as aqueous humour, typically flows out of the eye through a mesh-like channel. If the channel is blocked or the eye produces too much fluid, the liquid will build up. This build up creates pressure on the eye, which is one of the top causes of glaucoma. Sometimes, experts do not know why the blockage in the eye is caused, as there is no visible cause of blockage. Less commonly, eye injuries such as blunt force or a chemical injury can cause glaucoma, as can severe eye infections or inflammatory conditions. Glaucoma usually affects both eyes, but can be worse in one eye.
If you have glaucoma, you may experience eye pain, nausea, or tunnel vision. You may also see rainbow halos around light and develop light sensitiviities. Of course, if you have glaucoma, you may also experience sudden onset vision loss or reduced vision in your peripherals. You will not necessarily go blind or lose your vision entirely if you have glaucoma. Again, if it is detected early enough, it can be treated in order to preserve your remaining vision.