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Your Tulsa Eye Doctor Diagnoses and Treats Glaucoma
Your eyes constantly produce aqueous, a plasma-like fluid filling spaces around the lens and associated attachments. Diffusing out of the eyes and into the bloodstream, the aqueous drains into the drainage angle as your eyes keep making aqueous. Consistent removal of excess aqueous is necessary to prevent pressure from building in the eye. If intraocular pressure (IOP) increases beyond normal levels, damage to the optic nerve could occur, causing permanent loss of vision. Glaucoma causes more blindness men and women over 60 years old than any other eye disease. Fortunately, your eye doctor in Tulsa can help prevent worsening of glaucoma with early diagnosis and treatment.
Primary Open-Angle Glaucoma
This form of glaucoma is the most common, affecting nearly 95 percent of people diagnosed with glaucoma. Primary open-angle glaucoma is a slow-to-progress eye disease involving the inability of drainage ducts to remove fluid from the eye. Primary open-angle glaucoma is asymptomatic in its early to middle stages and can only be diagnosed by your Tulsa eye doctor during an eye exam.
Less common than primary open-angle glaucoma is angle-closure glaucoma, an acute form of a glaucoma-causing rapid increase of eye pressure. OAG happens when your iris blocks the drainage angle by being too close to the angle. An angle-closure attack should be considered an emergency requiring professional attention immediately. Symptoms of OAG include severe pain, blurry vision, headache, nausea, and vomiting.
Normal Tension Glaucoma
Some people may have normal ocular pressure but suffer late-stage glaucoma symptoms, such as optic nerve damage and blind spots. Your eye doctor in Tulsa can detect normal tension glaucoma by evaluating pressure within the eyes and your symptoms.
Who is at Risk for Glaucoma?
Risk factors for glaucoma include:
- Anyone over 40 years old
- People with parents, grandparents or siblings with glaucoma
- African-Americans and Hispanics
- Older people with nearsightedness or farsightedness
- Individuals with diabetes, circulatory disorders or other systemic health problems
If your optometrist has diagnosed you with optic nerve or corneal abnormalities, you may also have an increased risk for developing glaucoma.
How Your Tulsa Eye Doctor Detects Glaucoma
During an examination for glaucoma, optometrists will:
- Measure intraocular pressure
- Evaluate the condition of drainage angles
- Use retinoscopy technology to determine optic nerve health
- Test peripheral and forward vision
- Measure corneal thickness
If glaucoma is detected, your eye doctor will discuss various treatment methods available to delay progression of glaucoma by stabilizing eye pressure.
Treatments for Glaucoma
Eye drops are usually prescribed to control intraocular pressure by reducing production of fluids or increasing the ability of angles to drain fluid. Prostaglandins in glaucoma eye drops relax eye muscle to facilitate fluid outflow while beta-blocker eye drops decrease fluid production to help reduce intraocular pressure.
People with open-angle glaucoma may require a trabeculoplasty surgical procedure using a laser to improve drainage. For those with angle-closure glaucoma, an iridotomy is often needed to make a microscopic hole in the eye's iris so that fluids flow towards the drainage angle.
Glaucoma patients who do not respond to eye drops may have tiny drainage tubes implanted in affected eyes. These tubes send fluid to a surgically constructed reservoir under the conjunctiva to expedite removal of fluid.