Port Moody, BC | 604.469.8428
Glaucoma Testing & Management

Unmasking Glaucoma: the Silent Thief of Sight

According to the Canadian Association of Optometrists, glaucoma is one of the most common causes of blindness among Canadians. This disease develops without symptoms, causing more and more damage until the sufferer has sustained significant visions loss.

How Glaucoma Works

Your eye is filled with fluid. When the eye works properly, this fluid drains and fills on an ongoing basis, maintaining the appropriate level of intraocular pressure (IOP). In cases of glaucoma, the eye does not drain properly, causing the IOP to grow higher and higher and damaging the optic nerve in the process.

The reason for this drainage problem varies with the type of glaucoma. In some cases, it’s the iris covering the drainage ducts. In others, the drainage system is worn out and no longer effective. Sometimes, the drainage system appears to be healthy but still refuses to function properly for no discernable reason.

The Long Term Consequences

Regardless of the type of glaucoma, the eventuality is the same; the optic nerve sustains damage and starts to lose function. The effects of glaucoma are slow but cumulative, building over time. Once glaucoma has damaged the eye, this damage cannot be undone, and the lost vision cannot be regained. This is why early detection is crucial to preserving your vision.

Symptoms

For the most part, glaucoma is asymptomatic, meaning there are no real warning signs that patients notice day to day. However, one type of glaucoma (called acute angle closure glaucoma) can come on quite suddenly, accompanied by hazy or blurry vision, extreme headache or eye pain, nausea or vomiting, sudden loss of vision, and rainbow halos around lights. If you experience these symptoms, you need to seek medical help immediately.

Glaucoma Treatments

There is no cure for glaucoma, and the damage glaucoma does is irreversible. There are, however, a few treatment options to prevent further vision loss and slow progression of the disease. It is important that you follow your doctor’s treatment instructions to the letter; many people don’t take their medication as directed because they feel no symptoms. This can allow the disease to progress, further damaging your vision.

There are a few surgery options for treating glaucoma; both laser and conventional. These procedures are designed to open up the drainage system, allowing the eye to maintain a more normal IOP level. In some cases, the surgeon will implant a tube to keep the drainage duct open. This surgery is commonly used for children with glaucoma.

Medication for glaucoma comes in both pill and eyedrop form. Both types of medication are designed to bring down IOP. In some cases, one medication will not be enough, and your doctor will prescribe them to you in conjunction with others. This process can be tricky and sometimes takes a while to perfect.

Come See Us

Visit our office across from Port Moody City Hall in the Heritage Mountain Plaza, Right next to Shoppers Drug Mart.

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260-221 Ioco Rd
Port Moody, BC V3H 4H2

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