Often characterized by a troublesome buildup of pressure within the eye, glaucoma can cause a decreased ability to see or total loss of vision. The dangerous pressure that builds in the eye does not always cause any signs or symptoms and can progress without notice until the optic nerve is damaged, often irreparably. The damage to the optic nerve leads to varying degrees of permanent vision loss and other symptoms, from blurred vision to halos around lights to intense eye pain, nausea and finally, total blindness. Glaucoma affects millions and is the second leading cause of blindness in the United States.
The potential of glaucoma to rob patients of their sight is one of the most cited reasons to regularly visit your eye care professional. Dr. Dunn uses a painless tonometer during eye exam that gives a puff of air (about a forth the stength of most other instruments) that monitors the pressure within your eyes. When dangerous levels of pressure are detected, treatments can include medication or glaucoma surgery.