Can Glaucoma Cause Blindness If Left Untreated?
Glaucoma is a progressive eye condition that causes pressure to build inside your eye. Over time, the pressure can permanently damage your optic nerve. If left untreated, it can cause complete blindness. Known as the “the sneak thief of sight,” the symptoms of glaucoma do not appear until patients have experienced irreversible damage. Based on information from the World Health Organization, glaucoma is the second primary cause of blindness worldwide. At Ophthalmology Associates of the Valley (OAV), we perform diagnostic testing for glaucoma and offer glaucoma treatment in Los Angeles, CA. Because the symptoms do not appear until later on, you should schedule a routine eye exam, especially if you have a greater risk for glaucoma. Learn more about what happens if glaucoma is left untreated and minimally invasive glaucoma surgery here.
How do you get glaucoma?
Glaucoma happens because of an increase in intraocular pressure within the eye. Intraocular pressure can injure the optic nerve. This nerve is responsible for sending messages to the brain, so you could experience vision loss or complete blindness without proper treatment. Anybody can get glaucoma, but some groups have a higher chance, including:
- Patients who are of African American, Hispanic, Japanese, Russian, or Scandinavian heritage
- patients over 40
- individuals with a genetic predisposition
If you have high blood pressure, diabetes, sickle cell anemia, or heart disease, the likelihood of glaucoma may increase. It also impacts patients who experience nearsightedness or farsightedness. Even without any of these risk factors, you can still get glaucoma.
What happens if glaucoma is left untreated?
To ensure glaucoma does not damage your eyesight, you should schedule regular eye exams every year. During your routine eye exam at our Los Angeles, CA office, we will complete comprehensive diagnostic testing to detect glaucoma early on. Generally, patients need their eyes dilated, so we can easily see into the eye. This helps us assess your optic nerve and determine if you have any damage. If we notice any issues, patients will receive a tailored treatment plan.
Without early detection, you may begin to experience vision loss in your peripheral or “side” vision. If caught early, glaucoma is easy to treat. Unfortunately, once the damage has started, you cannot reverse vision loss, blurry vision, or total blindness. For detailed information about glaucoma, we encourage you to read through our resource page.
Glaucoma treatment options in Los Angeles, CA
Depending on the severity of your condition, our team is proud to offer a variety of effective and safe treatments. Each of these options can help reduce pressure on the optic nerve. In the early stages of this disease, patients can use eye drops to minimize further damage to the optic nerve. Patients may need minimally invasive glaucoma surgery (MIGS), laser treatments, or trabeculectomies for more severe cases. We will explain all of these procedures in detail during your appointment.
Schedule a routine eye exam
Yearly eye exams are critical for patients to attend. Not only do we review your eyesight, but we will also perform diagnostic testing to check your overall eye health. With early detection, you can avoid the irreversible effects of glaucoma. Glaucoma can lead to total blindness, so please schedule an appointment in Los Angeles, CA to learn more. If you already have signs of vision loss, schedule an appointment at Ophthalmology Associates of the Valley (OAV) as soon as possible.