Glaucoma is a leading cause of permanent blindness worldwide. It is caused by damage to the optic nerve from elevated eye pressure. The optic nerve transmits visual information from the eye to the brain. Damage to the optic nerve leads to a progressive deterioration of eyesight over time, starting with peripheral vision. The onset of glaucoma often occurs with age, although there are many additional risk factors including: family history, thin corneas, diabetes, eye inflammation, trauma, and others.
Glaucoma is mainly a silent disease. Many patients do not experience any symptoms until the later stages of the disease. When symptoms do occur, however, they can include:
- Loss of peripheral vision
- Hazy or blurred vision
- The appearance of rainbow-colored circles around bright lights
- Severe eye and head pain accompanied by nausea or vomiting
- Sudden sight loss
Currently, there is no cure for glaucoma, but there is a number of treatments available to lower eye pressure. Of these, eyedrops are most commonly used to lower eye pressure and prevent damage to the optic nerve. Laser treatments can also be used in-office.
For those who suffer from both glaucoma and cataract, surgery may be an ideal option. There are a number of microdevices available that can be surgically implanted in the eye that treat both at the same time, such as the iStent Inject.