Early Warning Signs of Glaucoma

Glaucoma is the second-leading cause of blindness around the world, and some 3 million Americans have one of the diseases encompassed by glaucoma. 

More specifically, 90% of glaucoma patients in the US — that’s about 2.7 million people — have open-angle glaucoma, the so-called “silent thief of sight” because it doesn’t cause symptoms until it’s too late. 

So, did we just draw you in with some click-bait title? No, not really. Just because you don’t notice the warning signs of glaucoma doesn’t mean they’re not there. You might need an eye doctor to perform an exam and tell you about your changes. 

But maybe we’re getting ahead of ourselves here. At Paragon Eye Associates here in Arlington and Mansfield, Texas, our expert optometrists and ophthalmologists have years of experience diagnosing and treating glaucoma. We know a thing or two about glaucoma’s early warning signs, as well as getting treatment. 

So let’s start at the beginning. 

What is glaucoma?

Glaucoma is a disease that develops as the pressure in your eyeballs increases and damages your optic nerve. There are two main types of glaucoma: open-angle and closed-angle. Not only is open-angle glaucoma far more common, but it develops slowly and doesn’t usually cause noticeable symptoms. 

On the other hand, closed-angle glaucoma is less common but develops rapidly and is a medical emergency when it occurs. 

What are the signs of glaucoma?

With closed-angle glaucoma, you develop symptoms rapidly, including:

But only a fraction of people who get glaucoma develops the closed-angle type. Most people who have glaucoma develop open-angle glaucoma. The earliest sign of open-angle glaucoma is elevated eye pressure during a no-contact tonometry test. 

Usually, the first noticeable sign of open-angle glaucoma is peripheral vision loss, which is why it’s so critical that you have routine eye exams at least every other year, even if you don’t need corrective lenses. 

In addition to elevated eye pressure, your eye doctor tests your vision for any signs of vision loss. We also examine your retina and optic nerve for signs of abnormality. If we notice any abnormalities during your exam, we carefully examine your drainage angles and look for other warning signs of glaucoma. 

What if I have glaucoma?

If you develop signs of closed-angle glaucoma, call us or go to your nearest emergency room immediately. You need immediate medical attention to save your vision. 

However, if we detect signs of open-angle glaucoma during your routine eye exam, we can provide the right treatment to reduce the pressure in your eye and protect your vision. In most cases, we can provide medicated eyedrops. 

We also offer innovative laser treatments for glaucoma. In severe cases, we can perform surgery to ensure your eye drains correctly to prevent glaucoma and vision loss.

If you’re concerned about glaucoma or you’re due for a routine eye exam, call our offices in Arlington and Mansfield, Texas, or send a message to our team online today. 

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