Why You Shouldn’t Ignore Signs of Glaucoma

Jun 01, 2022
Why You Shouldn’t Ignore Signs of Glaucoma
Fluid ebbs and flows in and around your eyes to keep them nourished and protected. But if it builds up and puts pressure on your retina, you have glaucoma, a serious condition that needs prompt attention. Here’s why.

If you knew there was an eye disease that could rob your eyesight with little to no warning, you’d want to learn everything there is to know about how to prevent it, detect it, and stop it. 

Glaucoma is that devious disease, and here’s your chance to gather the facts.

At Vision Corner, an independent optometry practice in Houston, Texas, with a state-of-the-art facility and a passion for personalized service, Dr. Sophia Barnes creates a culture of patient-centered care that focuses on prevention and education. We know that your best defense against failing eye health is knowledge and professional support, and you get both at Vision Corner. 

Here, Dr. Barnes takes a closer look at glaucoma and why you shouldn’t ignore signs of trouble.

Glaucoma 101

Glaucoma isn’t a singular disease, but rather an umbrella term for any disease that damages your optic nerve. Typically, this occurs when fluid builds up behind your eye. The problem can creep up without much warning, slowly damaging your optic nerve until you begin to experience small blind spots in your field of vision. There are several types of glaucoma.

Open-angle glaucoma 

The most common type, open-angle glaucoma comes on gradually as the drainage canals behind your eye clog over time. There’s no cure for glaucoma, but if it’s caught early, Dr. Barnes can treat it and help you manage your symptoms.

Angle-closure glaucoma

Sometimes called narrow-angle glaucoma, or acute-closure glaucoma, this type occurs when the spaces between your iris and cornea are mostly or completely blocked, causing intense pressure. This is an acute condition that requires emergency eye care

Normal-tension glaucoma

Also known as low-tension glaucoma, this type is a bit of a mystery because it damages the optic nerve even though the pressure is relatively low. 

Pigmentary glaucoma

In some cases, glaucoma occurs when a tiny particle of the iris pigment breaks off and gets trapped in the drainage canals behind your eyes. This is called pigmentary glaucoma.

Congenital glaucoma

Babies born with a deformity that blocks the drainage system in their eyes have congenital glaucoma. It’s rare — only about 1 in every 10,000 babies are affected — but it’s possible. 

Secondary glaucoma

When another medical condition is responsible for the pressure buildup, it’s called secondary glaucoma. For example, if you have diabetes, a disease known for causing nerve and blood vessel damage, you can develop neovascular glaucoma. And if you have an autoimmune disease that triggers widespread inflammation, you can develop uvetic (inflammatory) glaucoma. 

Signs of glaucoma you shouldn’t ignore

Most types of glaucoma sneak up on you and don’t produce easily recognizable symptoms until the damage has been done. If you start to notice blind spots in your vision, come see Dr. Barnes right away to treat the problem and avoid further damage — because once the nerve is completely destroyed, it causes total blindness.

Angle-closure glaucoma, however, does come with some warning signs because the pressure buildup is sudden. Watch for:

  • Pain in your eyes
  • Blurry vision
  • Narrow field of vision
  • Headaches
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Appearance of halos or a rainbow effect around lights

If you experience any of these symptoms, seek immediate medical attention to prevent blindness.

Glaucoma by the numbers

If you need more reasons to take glaucoma seriously, consider these facts:

  • Glaucoma is the leading cause of blindness
  • More than 3 million Americans have glaucoma
  • About half of all people who have glaucoma don’t know it
  • African Americans are 15 times more likely to suffer glaucoma-related visual impairment than Caucasians
  • Your risk for glaucoma increases at age 60

You can boost your chances of avoiding glaucoma or slowing its progression if you see Dr. Barnes for regular eye exams. To schedule yours, contact us at 713-623-2000 today. For your convenience, you can also use our online scheduler.