Optometrist in Kelowna Explains: What is Glaucoma?

Glaucoma is a group of eye disorders that cause damage the optical nerve. The early stages of the disease are often painless, with few to no symptoms, meaning your regular eye checkups are essential to early detection of these ocular disorders. Most cases of glaucoma cause damage by a rise of pressure within the eye. When the pressure builds, the eye has nowhere to displace the excess pressure, it simply continues to rise. As a result, the optic nerve is takes the weight of all that pressure, damaging the sensitive nerves that are bundled together. At iSight Optometry, we recommend an annual or bi-annual checkup to ensure the health of your eyes is maintained, but the frequency should depend on your specific risk factors.

The Science Behind Glaucoma Causing Vision Issues

Your optical nerve connects the retina to the brain making it the sole communication channel for what your eye sees, so any damage to this vital bundle of nerves is immediately detrimental to your vision. Unfortunately, if glaucoma causes any damage to your optical nerve, that damage will be permanent, further stressing the importance of finding any issues as early as possible. Our Comprehensive Eye Exams will measure the internal pressure of your eye, as well as inspecting the optical nerve through a microscope.

Regular Checkups at iSight Optometry Help Find Glaucoma

Due to the lack of symptoms for early stages of glaucoma, your best option is to be regularly screened through a registered optometrist. Later stages of glaucoma have varied symptoms, including vision loss, eye pain, mid-dilated pupil, redness of the eye, and nausea to name the most common. There are also a couple risk factors that you should be aware of, such as if you have family members or relatives with the disease, and if you are 60 years of age or older. Both of these factors increase the likelihood of developing glaucoma substantially. Secondarily, other medical conditions including high or low blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, and hypothyroidism are known to indicate an increased risk of glaucoma. If any of these symptoms or risk factors describe you, please be sure to let us know! Being aware of your risk factors will help us to monitor and track your eyes health over time.

If you have glaucoma, the treatment plan will depend on your specific case. The cause of glaucoma varies for each individual, but there are several treatments to stop or slow the onset of glaucoma causing vision loss.

When in doubt, give iSight Optometry of Kelowna a call at (250) 860-2020! Together, we work hard to protect your eyes and keep you seeing all of life’s beautiful moments.