Although it is one of the leading causes of vision loss in the world, many patients who have glaucoma suffer few if any symptoms. This makes the condition difficult to catch before it causes serious, permanent damage to the optic nerve.
When it comes to preventing vision loss from glaucoma, knowledge is truly power. If you are concerned about your eye health, contact Foulkes Vision today to schedule your consultation. Dr. Foulkes has extensive experience treating patients who suffer from glaucoma and other serious eye diseases.
How Do I Know If I Have Glaucoma?
Glaucoma actually refers to a series of different diseases rather than just one condition. The most common type of glaucoma is known as open-angle glaucoma. Patients with this type of glaucoma generally don't experience symptoms until the disease is advanced and vision loss is underway.
Vision loss related to open-angle glaucoma tends to begin in the periphery of your eyesight. So, if you begin experiencing gradual loss of peripheral vision, it is best to seek professional eye care as soon as possible.
The best way to find out if you are at risk for glaucoma is an annual eye exam. Your pupils will be dilated, and the following tests may be performed to check for signs of glaucoma:
- Dr. Foulkes will assess your peripheral vision acuity
- Your intraocular pressure, or IOP, is measured with the use of a tonometer (the device that shoots a quick burst of air into your eye)
- A slit lamp examination will enable Dr. Foulkes to check the retina and optic nerve for signs of damage
If you suddenly experience blurry or lost vision, go to the emergency room. Onset of sudden symptoms may indicate angle-closure glaucoma, which poses an acute risk to your vision.
Risk Factors for Glaucoma
Although the actual cause of glaucoma is not currently known, there are some key factors that can elevate your likelihood of developing the condition. These include:
- Family history: If you have immediate family members who suffer(ed) from glaucoma, you may be at greater risk.
- Race: African-Americans and individuals of Latin descent are more likely to develop glaucoma than Caucasian patients.
- Age: Anybody can develop glaucoma, including infants. However, the risk for glaucoma increases as you get older.
Patients with extreme nearsightedness and conditions like hypertension and diabetes may also be at risk of glaucoma. If these risk factors apply to you, it is important to be diligent in scheduling yearly eye exams to catch glaucoma symptoms before they become a threat to your sight.
What to Do about Glaucoma Warning Signs
With open-angle glaucoma, fluid buildup occurs within the eye. If fluid can't drain properly, this causes IOP to increase, which puts the optic nerve at risk.
Because glaucoma generally doesn't present with symptoms, it requires active management to detect and minimize damage. This starts simply enough with annual eye exams.
Should Dr. Foulkes find signs of glaucoma, he can recommend a treatment strategy that may involve some combination of the following:
- Oral medications to lower intraocular pressure
- Surgically improving drainage and filtration in the eye
- Laser eye treatment to remove select tissue and improve fluid outflow
Every patient's eyes are different. Dr. Foulkes will personalize treatment recommendations based on your exam, symptoms, risk factors, and other considerations.
Contact Foulkes Vision for Your Consultation Today
Dr. Richard Foulkes sets himself apart by going above and beyond for each patient's eyes. He will work closely with you to monitor and manage the signs of glaucoma and recommend the most suitable treatment options for your needs.
Schedule your initial consultation at Foulkes Vision by calling 224-435-4040 today. Dr. Foulkes has offices in Lombard and Chicago, and he serves patients in Naperville and nearby areas of Illinois.