Glaucoma is a family of diseases which cause damage to the optic nerve. If left untreated, glaucoma can cause loss of peripheral (side) vision and eventually central vision or total blindness. It is one of the top causes of blindness in the world. It is usually caused by increased pressure in the eye but can occur with normal eye pressure. Glaucoma is known as “the silent thief of vision” because early on in the disease process there are little or no symptoms; study data reveals that of all Americans with glaucoma, half do not realize that they even have it.
Glaucoma is more likely diagnosed in patients past the age of 40, but it can be seen before patients reach 40. There is a genetic component to glaucoma so having a parent or sibling with glaucoma does increase your risk. Glaucoma is more prevalent in African Americans, Afro-Caribbean, and certain Hispanic populations. The risk is also higher for patients who use steroids, either orally, intranasally or inhaled.
A healthy eye has a normal intraocular pressure (IOP) measurement between 8 and 22. The pressure is generated by the flow of fluid (aqueous humor) through the eye and back into the bloodstream. This pressure is independent of a person’s blood pressure. The fluid is made by the ciliary processes (behind the iris) and it circulates through the pupil to the trabecular meshwork (the filter in the corners of the front of the eye). Because the eye is a closed system, if the fluid cannot flow out of the eye as fast as it is produced, then the pressure will rise.
At The Center for Excellence in Eye Care, we have a team of specialists that can help you manage and treat glaucoma. We proudly serve patients in Miami and throughout the South Florida area. If you are a resident of the greater Miami area and suspect that you or a loved one may be suffering from glaucoma or vision loss in general and would like to come in for a simple glaucoma evaluation, please call our team today!