Glaucoma refers to a series of conditions that damage the optic nerve. Usually, this serious problem stems from excess pressure in the eye. Early detection and treatment are vital steps for reducing vision loss and other damage from eye conditions like glaucoma, making it imperative to maintain regularly scheduled eye care visits with your Sacramento eye doctor.
Wilmarth Eye and Laser Center provides a wide variety of eye care services, including complete checkups and glaucoma screenings. Please call 916-782-2111 today to schedule your appointment. Stephen Wilmarth, M.D., serves patients in or around the Greater Sacramento area.
Symptoms of Glaucoma
Increased pressure within the eye (medically known as intraocular pressure) damages the optic nerve and can lead to vision loss and possibly blindness. Pressure can grow within the eye because the flow of fluid nourishing the cornea (aqueous humor) becomes blocked.
In the case of open-angle glaucoma, the most common type, optic nerve damage is very gradual, exhibiting few noticeable symptoms over time except for progressive deterioration of peripheral vision.
Less common but often more serious is acute or angle closure glaucoma, where structures in the eye block drainage of the fluid and cause intraocular pressure to rise rapidly. Seek help as soon as possible if you experience these symptoms of angle closure glaucoma:
- Sudden eye pain
- Loss of vision
- Halo shapes around light sources
Though the exact cause of glaucoma is unknown, age and genetic predisposition are major risk factors.
The best defense against glaucoma is regularly scheduled eye exams accompanied by glaucoma screenings. Glaucoma damage isn’t reversible, but the risk to eye health and sight can be more manageable with early detection.
During your full eye care examination, Dr. Wilmarth will test the following to check for glaucoma:
- Internal eye pressure (tonometry)
- Field of vision
- Condition of the optic nerve (dilated pupil exam)
- Cornea thickness
Starting at age 40, eye doctors recommend undergoing a glaucoma screening in tandem with your full eye exam every one to three years. Patients 60 and older are at the highest risk of glaucoma, and they should undergo screenings annually.
If conducted early, these tests can help Dr. Wilmarth find evidence of glaucoma before the damage becomes too severe. Though there’s no cure for glaucoma, early detection and treatment of the symptoms could help minimize vision loss.
Common treatments for glaucoma include:
- Eye drops to regulate pressure in the eye
- Selective laser treatment to reshape optic structures and encourage necessary drainage
- Surgery if eye drops and laser treatment are unable to control the pressure and prevent further damage to the optic nerve
After assessing the health of your eyes and your vision capabilities, Dr. Wilmarth can discuss options to relieve glaucoma symptoms and keep your vision and eyes healthy and functional.
If you begin experiencing vision loss, it’s important to seek eye care immediately. Please contact Wilmarth Eye and Laser Center today by calling 916-782-2111 to schedule a consultation. Dr. Wilmarth is pleased to see patients in or around Sacramento.