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Creative Commons License photo credit: USP HospitalesGlaucoma is a category of eye disorders that are associated with a dangerous build up of internal eye pressure that can severely damage the optic nerve. They eye’s optic never is what transmits information to the brain and it’s essential to our eyesight. If it is undiagnosed or left untreated or uncontrolled, glaucoma begins by first attacking the peripheral vision causing seeing loss that can eventually lead to blindness. Glaucoma symptoms are rarely visible and can go unnoticed for a long time until vision loss occurs.

It is this invisibility that causes glaucoma to progress undetected until the optic nerve has been damaged, causing varying degrees of permanent vision loss from very slight to very extreme. The symptoms for acute angle-closure glaucoma can occur quite suddenly and show up in the form of blurry vision, halos around lights, intense eye pain, nausea and vomiting. If you or anyone you know is experiencing these types of glaucoma symptoms then make sure you see an eye doctor immediately or visit the emergency room. This will ensure that the proper steps are taken to prevent permanent blindness.

It is also this invisibility that makes it imperative for people to have their eyes examined regularly for glaucoma or other diseases that have serious complications or cause damage. During a routine eye exam, a machine called a tonometer is used to measure they eye’s intraocular pressure (IOP). An abnormally high IOP reading will mean that the eye is producing too much fluid, or it’s not draining properly. Other methods of monitoring glaucoma involve the use of sophisticated imaging technology like lasers, optical coherence and confocal scanning. All of these help to create baseline images and measurements of the eye’s optic nerve and internal structures including the fluid levels.

If you discover that you have glaucoma symptoms your doctor determine what stage you are at prescribe treatment. Treatment can be glaucoma surgery, lasers, medication or eye drops aimed at lowering the IOP. Because glaucoma is often painless and invisible, people may become careless about adhering to their use of eye drops or other treatments. It is important to stick to your treatment plan to control eye pressure and prevent permanent vision loss or blindness.

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