We were fortunate enough to catch Dr. Tran and asked him some questions about Glaucoma- here is what he had to say.
Q. What is glaucoma?
A. It is a disease of the optic nerve which, when progressing, will slowly stop transmitting images in the eyes to the brain. Usually the disease affects the peripheral vision first and then the central vision. Eventually, if untreated, blindness will result.
Q. What causes glaucoma?
A. It is believed that a poor perfusion of the optic nerve (poor blood circulation) causes the optic nerve fibers to die prematurely. It is also found that in many cases of glaucoma, there is an increase in the eye pressure due to the imbalance of production and the removal of the fluid (aqueous humor) inside the eyeballs.
Q. Who gets glaucoma?
A. There are several risks factors for Glaucoma: - your age (above 50), - your genetics (being of Irish, African-American, Japanese, Russian or Scandinavian descent), - having a history of eye trauma, - poor vision, - diabetes, - use of steroids.
Q. Will I go blind from glaucoma?
A. Since it is a progressive nerve atrophy disease, untreated glaucoma will eventually lead to loss of peripheral then central vision. The disease is irreversible, so it is important to detect and treat it early.
Q. How can I tell if I have glaucoma?
A. The patient cannot tell because the condition has no sign and no symptom. Only the eye doctor can detect and treat it. By the time the patient is aware of the loss of vision, the condition has already reached the advanced stage.
Q. How is glaucoma detected?
A. The methods include measurement of eye pressure, inspection of the health of the optic nerves and test of the integrity of the visual field. Often it may take several visits and many months to obtain an accurate diagnosis.
Q. How is glaucoma treated?
A. With one or a combination of the following methods: prescription eye drops, oral medications, laser surgery, or a more traditional operation.
Q. Can glaucoma be prevented?
A. Since glaucoma is an optic nerve atrophy, maintaining good blood flow in the eye helps in the prevention of Glaucoma; getting regular exercise, having a healthy diet and stop smoking. Also, protecting the eyes from injuries or infection, will reduce the risk of glaucoma. And most importantly, regular eye exams with your eye doctor are necessary in the early detection of effective treatment of glaucoma.