GLAUCOMA: THE SILENT THIEF

What is glaucoma?

Glaucoma is a disease of the eye that can present in many different forms. In rare cases, it can be present at birth, but only about 1 in 15,000 newborns have congenital glaucoma. More commonly, glaucoma is a disease found in adults, especially in senior citizens. Glaucoma is a complex disease, but the main risk factor is high pressure inside the eye from either too much fluid or inadequate drainage of this fluid.  In any case, when there is too much pressure inside the eye, the pressure must be reduced by drops or surgery in order to prevent optic nerve damage and permanent loss of vision.

How can I tell if I have glaucoma?

Unfortunately, in most cases of glaucoma, there are no obvious signs or symptoms. High pressure rarely causes pain or blurry vision and this is the reason why glaucoma is referred to as the Silent Thief. Additionally, the early visual loss from glaucoma affects only our peripheral vision, and often the other eye can compensate.  We can have this type of vision loss for many years before we become aware of it. We may compensate for the loss by turning our heads more from side to side to see and not realize we are doing so. If it seems that cars are popping into view from out of nowhere, be suspicious, and tell your eye doctor. We are able to employ simple, painless tests in order to assess your risk of having glaucoma. Risk factors for glaucoma include advanced age, family history, autoimmune and inflammatory diseases, and prolonged steroid use .

How is glaucoma treated?

The majority of glaucoma patients are treated with daily pressure-lowering eye drops. In some cases, laser and surgical procedures are necessary in order to keep it under control. These laser and surgical procedures are available at Focal Point Vision and many can be performed in our office. As in most situations, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. The doctors at Focal Point Vision are highly trained and experienced in the diagnosis and treatment of all of the types of glaucoma. Beware the Silent Thief.

“”The only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision“…Helen Keller

By Dr. Jorge San Martín