Glaucoma is the second leading cause of irreversible vision loss in the world. Statistics show that in the U.S. alone, over three million people are living with glaucoma.
Glaucoma is commonly associated with elevated eye pressure. This has led to a number of questions from our patients. If they have elevated eye pressure, does this mean they have glaucoma?
The short answer is not necessarily. Elevated eye pressure puts you at greater risk of glaucoma but it doesn’t necessarily mean you have glaucoma.
To understand this topic more fully, let’s look more closely at both glaucoma and elevated eye pressure. This should help you understand how the two are related.
What is Glaucoma?
Glaucoma is a disease where the optic nerve is damaged, causing vision loss. This type of damage is permanent and cannot be restored.
There are many different kinds of glaucoma. The most well-known type is called open-angle glaucoma. This happens when fluid can’t drain correctly from the eye. As it begins to build up, it causes pressure to build on the optic nerve.
However, glaucoma can begin to form with no added pressure to the optic nerve. Elevated eye pressure can play a role but limited blood flow to the optic nerve can play a role as well.
What is Elevated Eye Pressure?
High intraocular pressure occurs when pressure begins to build inside the eye at higher rates than normal. And while it is a risk factor for glaucoma, it doesn’t mean you have glaucoma.
If you are diagnosed with having elevated eye pressure, your doctor will monitor you closely to watch for signs of glaucoma.
Glaucoma is commonly referred as the “silent thief” of vision because it often develops painlessly and causes progressive vision loss over time. This is why it is so important to maintain regular yearly eye exams. During a dilated eye exam, your doctor will be able to easily spot the signs of glaucoma.
To learn more about glaucoma and elevated eye pressure, contact our Auburn, Maine office to schedule your comprehensive eye exam today.