Approximately three million people in the United States have glaucoma, though as many as half may be unaware of the condition. Glaucoma can lead to permanent vision loss without treatment, making early detection critical. To help, Dr. Diana Ngo and her team offer full glaucoma detection and treatment at her Houston-based practice, Ella Eyes. To stay one step ahead of glaucoma, call or schedule an appointment using the online form.
Glaucoma Q & A
What is glaucoma?
Glaucoma is a common progressive disease that leads to optic nerve damage. Glaucoma develops when the drainage in the front of your eye isn’t functioning correctly, allowing fluids to build up, which can damage your optic nerve.
There are several types of glaucoma, including:
With open-angle glaucoma, the drainage between your iris and your cornea slowly clogs, causing fluid to build up. This is the most common form of the condition, accounting for 90% of the cases. It’s also one of the hardest to detect because you rarely feel any symptoms.
This type of glaucoma is caused by a closed or narrow-angle between your cornea and your iris. Symptoms of angle-closure glaucoma come on quickly and demand immediate medical attention. You experience this type of glaucoma acutely in the form of discomfort and pain.
Your optic nerve is damaged, even without significant pressure in your eyes.
What causes glaucoma?
The causes of glaucoma remain a mystery, but several factors put you more at risk of developing the condition, including:
- High blood pressure
- Macular degeneration
- Age (over 60)
- African Americans: six to eight times more common
- Eye injury
Since there’s no known cause of the disease, there is no cure. There is, however, much that Dr. Ngo can do to halt its progression, especially if she catches it early.
How is glaucoma detected and treated?
Since most cases of glaucoma don’t have any symptoms, it’s essential to keep up with your regular eye exams so Dr. Ngo can spot and test for early signs of the condition. To do this, she turns to:
- Ocular coherence tomography to study your retina
- Visual field testing to detect peripheral vision loss
- Digital camera imaging of your retina to detect changes
If Dr. Ngo detects glaucoma, she recommends the following treatments, depending on how far along it’s progressed:
- Prescribed daily eye drops to lower pressure
- Laser surgery for better drainage