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It is crucial that you schedule an appointment with your eye doctor every year. During your eye exam, your optometrist will test your vision and check the health of your eyes. Several diseases of the eye show no early symptoms until permanent vision loss has occurred. One of these diseases is glaucoma.
Glaucoma is a condition where increased eye pressure causes damage to the optic nerve in your eye. When the damage has occurred, it cannot be reversed. Without treatment, tunnel vision can occur followed by complete vision loss.
There are two common types of glaucoma. These include:
The symptoms of glaucoma depend on the type that you have. Open-angle glaucoma shows no early signs. This is why it is nicknamed, “the silent thief of sight.” Because this type of glaucoma shows no symptoms until the disease has progressed, annual eye exams are essential.
The symptoms of angle-closure glaucoma begin as soon as the disease does. Sudden eye pain and severe headaches often occur with this type of glaucoma. The other symptoms include vision loss, blurry vision, nausea and vomiting, and redness of the eye. Some patients with this type of glaucoma report seeing halos around lights.
During your annual eye exam, your eye doctor will dilate your eyes to get a good look at your optic nerve. If they see something that makes them suspect glaucoma, a tonometry test will be performed to check the pressure in your eye. A visual field test may be performed to determine how much damage the disease has caused to your peripheral vision. Photos of your optic nerve may also be taken so that your eye doctor can track the progression of the disease over time.
Unfortunately, there is no cure for glaucoma; however, there are treatments that can slow the progression of the disease. Eye drops to keep the pressure in the eye down are commonly used. In severe cases, laser surgery or microsurgery can help.
To ensure the health of your eyes, you should schedule annual appointments with Eye Center of Virginia in Williamsburg. Our doctors of optometry will check your eyes for potential signs of glaucoma.