FX Excursions

FX Excursions offers the chance for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in destinations around the world.

Glaucoma Prevention

by Mary Gallagher, RN, MSN, CCRN

Feb 1, 2017
February 2017

GLAUCOMA IS AN EYE DISEASE that can cause blindness. If caught early, it can usually be treated and controlled. Because glaucoma often has no symptoms, however, it is important to have yearly eye exams. Glaucoma begins when pressure builds up in the eye. This intraocular pressure can damage the optic nerve, which sends messages to the brain so we can see.

Glaucoma is the second most common cause of blindness in the United States. African-Americans over the age of 40 and everyone over 60, especially Mexican-Americans, are at risk. For adults over 60, it is the leading cause of blindness.

The front of the eye is filled with the aqueous humor, a clear fluid made in an area behind the iris. It leaves the eye through channels where the iris and cornea meet called the anterior chamber angle. The cornea is the clear substance that covers the iris, pupil and angle.

Anything that slows or blocks the flow of this fluid causes pressure to build, resulting in one of four types of glaucoma: open angle, angle closure or closed angle, congenital and secondary. In open angle glaucoma, the increase in pressure is small and slow. In angle closure, the increase is often high and sudden. Either type can damage the optic nerve.

Open angle glaucoma is the most common type and tends to run in families, though the cause is unknown. Your risk is higher if you have a parent or grandparent with open angle glaucoma. The pressure increases slowly over time and you cannot feel it. The increased pressure pushes on the optic nerve. Damage to the optic nerve causes blind spots in your vision. Most people have no symptoms with open angle glaucoma. Once vision loss occurs, the damage is already severe. The individual experiences a slow loss of side peripheral vision, a phenomenon known as tunnel vision. Advanced glaucoma can lead to blindness.

Angle closure glaucoma occurs when the fluid is suddenly blocked from flowing out of the eye, causing a quick, severe rise in pressure. Symptoms come and go at first or steadily become worse. You may notice sudden severe pain in one eye, decreased or cloudy vision (steamy vision) and nausea and vomiting. Other symptoms include rainbowlike halos around lights, red eye and eyes that feel swollen. Dilating eye drops and certain medications may trigger an acute glaucoma attack. If you had acute glaucoma in one eye, you are at risk for it in the second eye. Your ophthalmologist will likely treat your second eye to prevent a sudden attack in that eye.

Both open angle and angle closure glaucoma can be secondary when the cause is known. Causes include drugs such as corticosteroids, eye diseases such as uveitis (an infection in the middle layer of the eye), diseases such as diabetes, and eye injury. Secondary glaucoma presents symptoms often related to the underlying problem; depending on the cause, symptoms may either be like open or closed angle glaucoma.

Congenital glaucoma is present at birth and is caused when the eye does not develop normally. It often runs in families. Symptoms are most often noticed when a child is a few months old and include cloudiness of the front of the eye, enlargement of one eye or both eyes, red eye, sensitivity to light and tearing.

The only way to diagnose glaucoma is with a complete eye exam including a test to check eye pressure. In most cases, eye drops will dilate (widen) your pupil so the ophthalmologist can look inside your eye and at the optic nerve. Eye pressure varies at different times of the day; it can even be normal in some people with glaucoma. Your doctor may administer other tests to confirm glaucoma such as using a special lens to look at the angle of the eye, optic nerve imaging, checking your retina, checking how your pupil responds to light, 3D views of the eye, visual acuity testing and visual field measurement.

The goal of treatment is to reduce eye pressure and depends on the type of glaucoma. If you have open angle glaucoma, you will probably use drops but may also need pills to lower pressure. If the drops do not work, you may require laser treatment to open the channel. If laser does not work, surgery may be required to release the fluid.

An acute closed angle attack is a medical emergency. If you have severe eye pain or sudden loss of vision, get immediate medical help. You can become blind in a few days if not treated. You may be treated with eye drops, pills and intravenous medication to lower your pressure. Some people require emergency eye surgery called an iridotomy, which uses a laser to open a new channel in the iris. The new channel relieves the attack and prevents another attack. To prevent an attack in the other eye, the procedure is often performed on that eye.

With secondary glaucoma, treating the cause may help symptoms go away. Other treatments may be needed. Congenital glaucoma is almost always treated with surgery, usually performed with general anesthesia. Babies with congenital glaucoma do well when surgery is done early.

You can keep your eyesight by following your eye doctor’s directions. To prevent vision loss, have regular, complete eye exams as recommended by your ophthalmologist; she can find glaucoma early, when it is easiest to treat. All adults should have an exam by age 40. If you are at risk for glaucoma, have your eye exam earlier.

The content of this article is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

Introducing

FX Excursions

FX Excursions offers the chance for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in destinations around the world.

#globility

Insta Feed
Daily
Nov 25, 2022

Bottega il Buco and Max Rivera Papic Make Waves in Ibiza

One of Ibiza’s hottest restaurant destinations since its opening five years ago, Bottega il Buco, draws legions of fans with the addition of new head chef Max Rivera Papic, whose kitchen credits include skills honed under the tutelage of Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester, London.

Crowne Plaza and Holiday Inn Hotels Answer the Call for Business Travelers Seeking Flexibility

As the travel industry finds itself in the midst of the first peak travel season since the beginning of the pandemic, Crowne Plaza® Hotels & Resorts commissioned a survey of more than 1,200 U.S. consumers to learn more about business travel habits, learning 65 percent of Millennials, aged 25–44 years old, and 59 percent of Gen Z, ages 18–24 years old, prefer to work for a company offering frequent travel or flexible blended travel as a perk. Blended travel is the combination of business travel with leisure travel.

Daily
Nov 25, 2022

Ski Season and Winter Getaways at Colorado Resorts

Ski season is around the corner. Now is the perfect time to plan your winter ski getaway. These Colorado resorts offer deals designed for skiers.

Daily
Nov 25, 2022

Give a Gift from Around the World this Holiday Season

This holiday season, give your loved ones a gift from around the world to create memories that last a lifetime.

TAP Air Portugal’s Porto

When American travelers make plans to visit Portugal, Lisbon is usually their first stop.

Daily
Nov 24, 2022

Angama To Open Deluxe Lodge Near Kilimanjaro

Lodging and hospitality company Angama announced the November 2023 opening of Angama Amboseli, an intimate, 10-suite lodge set in Kenya’s private, 5,700-acre Kimana Sanctuary, against the iconic backdrop of Mount Kilimanjaro, located just across the border in Tanzania.

eFlyer News
Nov 23, 2022

Hilton to Bring First Waldorf Astoria Property to Costa Rica

Costa Rica prepares to welcome its first Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts property, slated to open in 2025. Waldorf Astoria Guanacaste will boast 190 guestrooms, as well as 25 Waldorf Astoria-branded residences, all offering sweeping views overlooking the ocean. A presidential suite will also grace the property.

8 Reasons to Press the Green Button and Visit Ireland

Start planning that long-awaited trip to the island of Ireland. With all travel restrictions now lifted, there has never been a better time to visit.

eFlyer News
Nov 23, 2022

Cayman Airways Connects West Coast Travelers with Grand Cayman

West Coast travelers can now enjoy easier, more efficient access to the Cayman Islands thanks to a new airlift option via Cayman Airways Ltd. As of Nov. 6, Cayman Airways operates nonstop service from Los Angeles International Airport to Owen Roberts International Airport in Grand Cayman at an introductory fare of $399.