Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases that gradually steal sight without warning. In the early stages of the disease, there may be no symptoms and it is estimated that half of the people affected may not know they have it. Dr. Edward Hill tells us more about glaucoma in todayís 60 Second Housecall.

Glaucoma is a condition in which the normal fluid pressure inside the eyes slowly rises as a result of fluid called aqueous humor not being able to drain properly. This fluid normally flows in and out of the eye, but in glaucoma it collects and causes pressure damage to the optic nerve and loss of vision.

The causes of the condition are still unknown. Most people who have glaucoma do not notice any symptoms until they begin to lose some vision. As optic nerve fibers are damaged, small blind spots may begin to develop, usually in the side vision or peripheral vision. Many people do not notice the blind spots until significant optic nerve damage has already occurred. If the entire nerve is destroyed, blindness results. 

It is important to see your eye specialist for routine checkups. With early diagnosis, glaucoma can be treated before long-term visual loss occurs. Treatment may include prescription eye drops, laser surgery or microsurgery.

For North Mississippi Medical Center, Iím Dr. Edward Hill.