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Glaucoma Diagnosis And Treatment At Our Columbia Optometry Center

glaucoma

Glaucoma is one of those dreaded eye disorders that can cause progressive, irreversible damage to the eyes until your vision has been completely destroyed. This disease is the second most common cause of blindness -- but Dr. Dorothy Park & Associates can help ensure that you're not included in that number. Modern diagnostic techniques and treatments at our Columbia optometry center enable us to detect and control glaucoma, preserving your eyesight for many years to come.

How Glaucoma Affects the Eyes and Vision

Glaucoma is a condition in which the fibers of the optic nerves -- those essential conduits of visual data to the vision center of the brain -- are damaged to the point that they stop functioning. It is a mysterious condition in the sense that we don't know precisely why glaucoma strikes. In most sufferers, the problem seems to be associated with elevated fluid pressure inside the eye, but there's also a variant known as normal-pressure glaucoma in which the optic nerve damage occurs even without high intraocular pressure. Eye injuries or surgery can also lead to glaucoma. There are two principal varieties of glaucoma that involve elevated intraocular pressure:

  • Primary open-angle glaucoma - Primary open-angle glaucoma is the most common type of glaucoma. Under normal circumstances, a drainage mesh in the iris allows the vitreous humor (the fluid produced by the eye) to exit the eye as needed. In primary open-angle glaucoma, this drainage system is operating sluggishly. This disease tends to progress gradually over many years, often doing substantial damage before you're even aware of a problem.
  • Angle-closure glaucoma - In angle-closure glaucoma (also known as narrow-angle glaucoma), the drainage angle between the iris and cornea forms an unusually narrow passage that can become totally blocked, causing pressure to rise sharply and suddenly. Unlike open-angle glaucoma, this condition produces noticeable symptoms such as headache, nausea, vision problems and eye pain. Since it can cause rapid destruction of eyesight, it needs to be treated as an emergency.

Our Columbia Optometrist Can Help You Manage Glaucoma

Everyone should get their eyes checked regularly for signs of serious eye diseases, including glaucoma. You should be particularly vigilant about glaucoma if you have the following risk factors:

  • Aged  over 60 (or over 40 if you're African-American)
  • Medical conditions such as diabetes or hypertension
  • Nearsightedness/farsightedness
  • Family history of glaucoma
  • Taking medications such as corticosteroids
  • Previous eye injury or eye surgery

Regular eye exams are a must for detecting glaucoma early. Our Columbia optometrist can use techniques such as tonometry to check fluid pressure, pachymetry (measurement of corneal thickness, which sometimes factors into glaucoma), visual inspection of the optic nerves and evaluation of your peripheral vision, which typically declines first in glaucoma. 

Get the Sight-Saving Eye Care You Need

If you have glaucoma, rest assured that our Columbia optometrist can offer measures to help you preserve your vision. These include both medicated eye drops and oral drugs that reduce the volume of intraocular fluid and/or improve the function of the drainage mesh. We can even refer advanced cases to an eye surgeon for quick, painless laser procedures to improve drainage, providing pre-operative and post-operative examinations to co-manage these procedures and make certain that the treatment is working.

Don't let glaucoma steal your vision from you. Call (803) 254-6306 to schedule a comprehensive eye exam at our optometry center!