Can I Really Go Blind from Glaucoma?
What is Glaucoma?
Fluid which circulates inside the eye can back up, creating high pressure. If the pressure stays high enough long enough, the optic nerve can be damanged, leading to a loss of side vision, and even total blindness.
The eye doesn't have any sensory nerves that feel or notice high eye pressure. The only way to know you have high eye pressure is to have a professional eye exam.
(This is an image of a scan showing thinning of the optic nerve in a person with glaucoma).
Can Glaucoma Be Treated?
All treatments for glaucoma involve lowering the eye pressure to a safer range. Treatment helps prevent future damage, but cannot reverse damage to the optic nerve once it happens.
Do People Really Go Blind from Glaucoma?
At Progressive Eye Care we screen every patient for glaucoma during their annual vision and eye health exam, because glaucoma really can make people go blind.
Glaucoma is rare, but can be devastating! So we are always on the lookout.
More than just checking for pressure, we look carefully at the optic nerve and order special testing whenever there is a potential of concern. Most of our glaucoma patients are detected very early, so early in fact that they will likely never experience loss of vision because we're treating their eyes to keep their vision safe.
Recently we had two patients visit our South Jordan office for the first time, one of them in his 70's and one in her early 30's. What did they have in common? Their eye pressure was super high and athey didn't know it. Their optic nerves were already severely damaged. And in at least on of their eyes they were already nearly blind!
Nothing puts a pit in my stomach more than telling a person their vision is nearly gone and there is nothing I can do to bring their vision back!
Who Do Eye Doctors Worry About the Most?
It's probably not who you might think. Eye doctors worry most about all the lucky people who have great vision and think they don't need a routine eye care. Those are the people who are least likely to schedule regular eye exams and the ones most likely to have the "Silent Thief" of glaucoma sneak up on them unawares.
That's why we urge annual vision and eye health exams for everyone!