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Allentown PA optometrists Dr. Tony Sankari, Dr. R. Douglas Quay, and Dr. Nicholas Gidosh have worked with hundreds of people from the Lehigh Valley who either have or are at risk for a common eye health disease called glaucoma. Read on to learn more about this condition and how the staff at Lehigh Valley Eye Care Associates can help.
Glaucoma is an eye disease that can cause vision loss due to progressive damage to the optic nerve. The optic nerve plays a crucial role in your ability to see since it is the connection between the eyes and the brain. In the most common type of glaucoma, called open-angle glaucoma, the pressure within a person's eye begins to increase. This happens because the drainage canals through which inner eye fluid normally drains becomes clogged over time, however, the angle between the nearby iris and the cornea remains patent. The increase pressure leads to pressure, tension, and eventual breakdown of the optic nerve.
Risk factors for glaucoma include being over the age of 60 (or being over the age of 40 if you are of African descent), family history, having hypertension, diabetes, and certain other systemic diseases.
Glaucoma is common: it's believed to affect at least 2 million Americans and is attributed to at least 15% of the cases of vision loss and blindness worldwide.
While there are symptoms of glaucoma--primarily vision loss and blurriness--these often don't present until well after the disease has already progressed significantly. This is why this disease has earned the unfortunate nickname "the sneak thief of sight."
The second less common type of glaucoma, known as angle-closure glaucoma, does present with significant symptoms that develop suddenly. In fact, this type of glaucoma, while rare, is considered a medical emergency. Symptoms of angle-closure glaucoma (so called because the angle between the iris and the cornea is closed) include a rapid onset of blurry vision, the appearance of rainbow-colored encircling bright lights, sudden vision loss, nausea, and vomiting, and/or severe head and eye pain.
Any vision loss that occurs due to glaucoma cannot be reversed. Because there are no early warning signs, it's important to see your Allentown optometrist regularly to ensure that earlier treatment can begin and slow or prevent the development of symptoms. If you already have a diagnosis of glaucoma, it's important to see us regularly so we can carefully monitor the progression of your disease and modify treatment as necessary.
Treatment typically includes eye drops and medications that help lower inner eye pressure and restore normal drainage. If necessary, our optometry team can refer you to other healthcare specialists in the event that surgery is indicated; we can also help you with pre- and post-operative care.
Lastly, people with glaucoma benefit from low-vision strategies and corrective eyewear to maximize eyesight and quality of life. Our Allentown optometrists can fit you with the most appropriate eyewear prescription that fits your lifestyle and budget.
Is it time to get screened for glaucoma? At Lehigh Valley Eye Care Associates, our Allentown optometrist team has the skills and technology to test you and your loved ones! To schedule an initial appointment, call (610) 432-3258 now.