Glaucoma Specialist in Manheim, PA
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What is the most frequent question our Eye Consultants of Pennsylvania glaucoma specialists are asked? “Will I go blind?” This is a fear of patients who have been recently diagnosed with glaucoma or who suspect they have glaucoma. For most patients, the answer is no, but you need early and regular treatment. If you live or work in Manheim PA, our glaucoma specialist is in nearby Lebanon ready to see you. Let’s explore more about why early diagnosis and treatment are key.
How Glaucoma Develops
Glaucoma is a chronic disease and a long-term eye condition that needs steady care. People who come in for regular eye exams are very fortunate compared to those who do not. The disease can be detected early on and we can preserve your vision.
Glaucoma progresses very slowly over many years and does not have symptoms until the late stages of the disease. In fact, most people who have glaucoma don’t even know it.
It is caused by a fluid buildup in the eye. A clear fluid (aqueous humor) fills the frontal eye and flows out of the pupil into the eye’s drainage system (trabecular meshwork). There must be a healthy balance of fluid flow, but if the eye’s fluid system is not working optimally, the fluid cannot drain and pressure inside the eye builds up.
As this buildup of fluid occurs, the pressure damages the nerve cells that make up the optic nerve. Over time, the damage can result in vision loss. As fibers are damaged, the optic disc develops a cup shape, and doctors can identify this through a thorough eye exam.
Glaucoma typically occurs in both eyes but the pressure buildup tends to happen in one eye first. The damage causes gradual vision changes over many years, and without eye exams, people can mistakenly “self diagnose” and assume that their vision loss is due to aging or other factors and not to a disease.
Peripheral vision is quite often the first to be affected, but many people still do not notice it. Over a longer period of time, central vision begins to become affected.
Who Is At Risk?
People over age 60 are at the greatest risk, as are people who have a family history of glaucoma. If you are of African, Asian or Hispanic descent, you are not only at higher risk, but also at risk of glaucoma before age 60. There are several other risk factors, including:
- individuals who are either very nearsighted or very farsighted
- people who have thin corneas
- people who have had an eye injury
- Individuals who use steroid medications
The most important thing to know is that any sight lost from glaucoma cannot be restored. Early detection is so important so that we can provide treatments that prevent any loss of remaining vision.
Most people who see an eye doctor early and get regular treatment never lose vision. It is very important to follow the treatment plan, and we have many excellent treatments available, including a variety of medications and eye surgeries.
You are the most important part of your treatment. Are you in Manheim PA? Our glaucoma specialist team in Lebanon will work closely with you, but you need to take the first step. Give us a call today at 610-378-8500 or schedule an online appointment at the Eye Consultants of Pennsylvania website.
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