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Is Vision Loss From Glaucoma Reversible?

Glaucoma is a common, vision-threatening eye condition. It’s one of the leading causes of vision loss in adults over the age of sixty. 

This eye condition can cause gradual vision loss and doesn’t show any symptoms in the early stages. For this reason, it is essential to visit your eye doctor regularly so they can detect any changes in your eye health early.

Keep reading to learn whether or not vision loss from glaucoma is reversible!

What is Glaucoma?

Glaucoma is the name given to a group of eye conditions that damage the optic nerve. The optic nerve is what connects your eye to your brain.

When it’s damaged, your brain doesn’t receive all the information it needs from your eye to form a complete image for you to see. Most types of glaucoma are caused by high intraocular pressure or IOP. 

Aqueous humor, which is the fluid that flows through your eyes to keep it healthy, can have trouble moving through the drainage channels in your eye. The most common kind of glaucoma is called open-angle glaucoma. 

In open-angle glaucoma, the angle of your eye is open, which is an area in your eye that fluid must travel through before reaching the drainage channels in the eye. However, there is a blockage in the trabecular meshwork, which is a system of porous tissue in the fluid drainage system that surrounds the eye. 

This blockage can cause your IOP to rise gradually over a period of time. High IOP will eventually damage the optic nerve by putting too much pressure on it. 

Eventually, that damage will cause vision loss. This vision loss is irreversible, but further vision loss can be prevented through treatment.

What Are the Visual Symptoms of Glaucoma?

Ideally, you visit your eye doctor regularly enough that glaucoma can be detected before it causes vision loss. During an eye exam, your eye doctor will be able to detect a high IOP and start treatment before there is any vision loss. 

Open-Angle Glaucoma

Open-angle glaucoma typically does not cause many symptoms. The first symptoms it presents are patchy spots in your peripheral vision. 

In the beginning stages, this may be hard for you to notice. In later stages, you’ll lose more of your peripheral vision, causing your vision to tunnel. 

Other forms of glaucoma cause different visual symptoms. 

Acute Angle-Closure Glaucoma

Acute angle-closure glaucoma happens when the angle of the eye is extremely narrow. When it blocks fluid from accessing the primary drainage channel, it can cause a swift rise in eye pressure. 

This type of glaucoma is often accompanied by much more apparent symptoms, including blurred vision, halos, severe eye pain, headache, nausea, and vomiting. Acute-angle closure glaucoma is considered a medical emergency. 

Your vision can be saved through emergency surgical intervention to relieve your eye pressure. This form of glaucoma, however, is more rare. 

Preventing Vision Loss From Glaucoma

Vision loss due to glaucoma is also irreversible. For this reason, it’s often called the Silent Thief of Sight.

The best way to prevent vision loss from glaucoma is through regular eye exams. Everyone over the age of sixty should have an eye exam every year. 

If you’re at higher risk for glaucoma, you may need more frequent eye exams even before the age of sixty.

Some factors that may increase your chances of developing glaucoma are:

  • Diabetes
  • Hypertension
  • Heart disease
  • Being of African, Asian, or Hispanic descent 
  • Being extremely nearsighted or farsighted
  • A family history of glaucoma

Talk to your eye doctor to determine if you are at risk for developing glaucoma and other age-related eye diseases. Glaucoma is treatable.

However, you need to be vigilant about your eye health so it can be detected and treated before it causes vision loss.

Are you experiencing symptoms of glaucoma? Schedule an appointment at Chicago Cornea Consultants in Highland Park, IL, today!

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