The doctor says I have high eye pressure (What is Glaucoma?)
Glaucoma is deterioration of your “seeing nerve” that takes sight from your eye to your brain.
There are many different types of glaucoma but let us discuss the most common glaucoma (primary open or closed angle glaucoma).
You may have been told by an optometrist or ophthalmologist that you have glaucoma. This may be very confusing and scary to hear. Rest assured that it is better to know that you have the condition and be treated properly than to have never found out until it is too late.
In most cases glaucoma does not have to be a condition that impairs your life, vision, or hopes for the future.
Let us try and understand it…
Glaucoma is a silent disease (meaning that you do not feel it coming on). You will not know you have glaucoma unless you are told by a health care professional who has examined your eyes. It is not commonly painful. If you are having difficulty seeing, maybe bumping into things then it has been with you for a long time and has already done a lot of damage. It is a chronic disease meaning that it does not go away but can be controlled in the same way that someone would control high blood pressure or diabetes with medication and sometimes surgery.
If left untreated glaucoma can slowly rob you of your vision until you are totally blind. Unfortunately, damage caused by glaucoma cannot be reversed. However, if you catch it early there is a good chance that any worsening can be stopped and that you can preserve your vision.
Why did I get it?
In most cases we do not get glaucoma because of something we have done. It just appears. It often runs in families or comes to those with high blood pressure, diabetes, or short-sightedness. Your brothers and sisters may need an eye checkup for glaucoma. The earlier they find out about their possible glaucoma the better chance they have of preserving 100% of their vision for life.
What must I do now that I have glaucoma?
In the same way that a soccer ball is pumped up to a certain pressure with air, the eyeball is pumped up with fluid to a normal pressure. Too much eye pressure can “squash” the nerve in the eye.
We lower eye pressure to give the nerve more blood and relieve the nerve. We can do this with regular, on-going eye drops. Or we can operate or perform laser to your eyes to control the glaucoma and spare your vision.
The biggest mistake people make with glaucoma is that they stop using their eye drops and stop going for their scheduled checkups.