Inside of a healthy eye, there is a balance between the fluid that is produced, and the fluid that leaves the eye. This balance creates a healthy level of pressure inside the eye called intraocular pressure, or IOP. When fluid does not properly drain or too much fluid is produced, the intraocular pressure increases, which can damage the optic nerve in the back of the eye. Glaucoma is a group of eye conditions which damage the optic nerve. Elevated IOP is usually associated with glaucoma, but even people with normal IOP can develop glaucoma. Over time, continuous elevated pressure, or spikes in pressure damage the optic nerve, leading to permanent vision loss. Usually vision loss begins in the periphery, but your brain tries to compensate by filling in the damaged areas. Because of this compensation, and the generally slow progression of glaucoma, you won’t notice changes to your vision. This is why routine eye exams are important. Your eye doctor will check for risk factors and examine your eyes to detect any problems. With early detection, your eye doctor can find a treatment which can slow, and possibly stop glaucoma from progressing. Treatment depends on the underlying cause of your glaucoma, and can range from eye drops to surgery. The goal of most glaucoma treatments is to manage IOP by either reducing the amount of fluid created or increasing the amount of fluid leaving the eye. Since you can’t notice the damage glaucoma causes, it’s important to have routine eye exams. If you would like to schedule an appointment, call us today!
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