Glaucoma FAQs

Glaucoma FAQs Answered by Our Chico, CA, Eye Care Team

At Reeve Woods Eye Center, our doctors and staff have the right mix of technology and techniques to diagnose and manage glaucoma, a disease that afflicts many Americans today. Below are some of the most commonly asked questions about this debilitating disease.

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What Is Glaucoma?

Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases that damage a person's optic nerve.  Glaucoma is often accompanied by increased intra-ocular pressure, but can present in people with normal levels of eye pressure, too.

What Causes Glaucoma?

By far the most common cause of glaucoma is increased eye pressure.  This increased eye pressure is a result of either the eye’s inability to properly drain some of its interior fluid, the overproduction of fluid that supports the vitreous humor (the inside of the eye), or some other form of leakage of blood or fluid from the blood vessels inside the eye.  When the pressure inside the eye increases by too much, the fibers of the optic nerve are permanently damaged. 

What Are the Risk Factors?

Glaucoma has several risk factors. They are:

  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Hispanic or African ancestry
  • Being older than 40
  • Previous eye injuries
  • Family history of the disease

What Is Open-Angle Glaucoma?

Open-angle glaucoma is the most popular form of the disease. With open-angle glaucoma, the eyes' drainage points remain intact, but are somehow compromised, leading to a slow increase in eye pressure that damages a person's optic nerves. It is important to be screened for open-angle glaucoma during your annual eye exam. 

What Is Angle-Closure Glaucoma?

Angle closure glaucoma is an acute medical condition.  In angle-closure glaucoma, drainage for the eye is completely stopped. When this happens, pressure builds within the eye and causes symptoms like eye pain, headaches, nausea, and sudden vision loss. Angle-closure glaucoma is a medical emergency, and if you experience these symptoms, seek help immediately.

How Is Glaucoma Detected?

A technique known as tonometry is used to check eye pressure.  An elevated eye pressure may indicate glaucoma.  Optic nerves are also examined directly during a dilated eye exam. 

Are there Treatments for Glaucoma?

While there is currently no cure for glaucoma, there are many treatments available to manage the symptoms of glaucoma and prevent it from progressing.  Oral medications and prescription eye drops may be employed during the early stages of glaucoma, and may be sufficient.  During the later stages of glaucoma, surgery may be required to save your optic nerves from further degeneration. 

Visit Us in Chico, CA, for Your Next Eye Exam

If you've been thinking about getting a glaucoma screening and live near Chico, CA, call Reeve Woods Eye Center now at 530-899-2244 to schedule an appointment with our eye doctors.