Glaucoma is not a single eye disease but is a collective term that is used to describe a broad range of eye problems that can damage the optic nerve and cause loss of vision. The pressure inside the eye, called Intraocular Pressure (IOP), generally falls within a range that is considered “normal”. Many patients believe that Glaucoma is simply due to a high pressure within the eye. While a high Intraocular pressure can be one cause of Glaucoma, and in fact is the most common cause of Glaucoma, a high IOP may not be the only cause of Glaucoma. There are a number of possible causes of Glaucoma. Regardless of the cause, the various types of Glaucoma share a common factor: if not diagnosed early, treated properly and controlled, it will result in permanent vision loss and potentially blindness.
Most serious eye problems usually produce some symptoms that make patients uncomfortable or disturb their vision. Unfortunately, Glaucoma can begin without any symptoms or obvious loss of vision. In this way it is insidious in onset and, if not diagnosed and treated early in its course, will lead to progressive, permanent, and unnoticed vision loss. This is why it is essential to diagnose and treat Glaucoma as early in its course as possible through regular eye examinations with Riverside Eye Center in Auburn and Norway.
Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of blindness for patients between the ages of 18-65 years of age. It is estimated that approximately 3 million people have Glaucoma, yet only half of these actually know that they have it (http://www.glaucoma.org/).
Other national studies estimate that between 3 and 6 million people in the United States have higher than normal Intraocular Pressure (IOP), without obvious clinical signs of damage to the optic nerve. High Intraocular Pressure is one of the diagnostic signs that may indicate the presence of Glaucoma. Thus it is likely that there are another million people who may have Glaucoma, but have not yet been diagnosed because they do not have access to eye care or even Glaucoma screenings. (http://www.emedicinehealth.com/primary_open-angle_glaucoma/article_em.htm). Just in the United States, there are approximately 100,000 patients who are believed to be legally blind from glaucoma.
Fortunately, with early detection and diagnosis, in the vast majority of cases, Glaucoma can be treated and controlled so that vision loss can be prevented.
At Riverside Eye Center, Dr. Whitaker and the staff provide the full scope of advanced technology diagnostic testing for Glaucoma, and treatment, as well as taking the time necessary to give each patient the personal education needed to fully understand their condition. If you, a family member or friend have not had a recent screening and examination for Glaucoma, please take a moment to request an appointment with Dr. Whitaker by calling Riverside Eye Center in Norway, Maine at 207.743.0027 or Riverside Eye Center in Auburn, Maine at 207-786-2500.