Can You Lose Vision Permanently From Glaucoma?

Posted by: Missouri Eye Institute in Blog on July 2, 2024

Glaucoma is a leading cause of preventable blindness, affecting as many as three million Americans. While glaucoma is a lifelong condition with no cure, it can be treated.

Early detection and prompt treatment can reduce the risk of vision loss due to glaucoma. Keep reading to learn if you can lose vision permanently from glaucoma!

What is Glaucoma?

Glaucoma is the name for a group of conditions that result in damage to the optic nerve. Experts don’t fully understand what causes glaucoma, but excessive eye pressure is often one of the major factors in damaging the optic nerve.

Without treatment, the nerve damage progresses, leading to vision loss and eventually blindness.  While anyone can develop glaucoma, it’s most common in people over fifty-five years.

People with Black, Asian, or Hispanic heritage may also have a higher risk of developing glaucoma. Other factors associated with a higher risk of developing glaucoma include: 

Currently, there is no known way to prevent or cure glaucoma. However, there are treatments to slow or stop progression.

Eye exams can identify early signs of glaucoma so you can begin treatment right away.

How Does Glaucoma Affect Vision?

Glaucoma causes gradual damage to the optic nerve. The optic nerve is a bundle of hundreds of tiny nerve fibers that transmit information between the eye and the brain.

When those fibers are destroyed, less information travels from the eyes to the brain.  If enough nerves are damaged, transmission between the eyes and the brain is impossible.  

As sections of the optic nerve are damaged, blind spots develop in your field of vision. Changes to the peripheral vision are usually the first signs of glaucoma.

Over time, central vision will decrease as well. Eventually, the optic nerve damage will lead to blindness. 

What Are the Symptoms of Glaucoma?

The most common type of glaucoma is open-angle glaucoma, which does not cause symptoms in its early stages. Your eye doctor can detect signs of early glaucoma before you notice any changes to your vision.

Without early detection, you might not know you have glaucoma until you notice changes to your peripheral vision and, eventually, your central vision.  A less common type of glaucoma is angle-closure glaucoma, which usually develops suddenly.

It is considered a medical emergency, and you should get immediately medical attention if you experience symptoms such as:  

If you suspect you have acute angle-closure glaucoma, call your doctor right away. You need immediate treatment to relieve the pressure on your optic nerve and protect your vision. 

What Are the Treatment Options For Glaucoma?

There are effective treatments for glaucoma. The sooner you begin treatment, the more likely it is that you can avoid vision loss.

If you develop vision changes from glaucoma, they will be permanent since there is no way to repair the damaged nerve fibers. Treatment can only prevent future vision loss. 

Treatments include:

Stay proactive about your eye health and see the world through clear and vibrant eyes.

Is it time for you to have your eyes screened for glaucoma? Schedule an appointment at Missouri Eye Institute in Springfield, MO, today!


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