Often referred to as the “silent thief of sight,” glaucoma is a disease that affects the optic nerve, resulting in abnormally high eye pressure. Since the optic nerve is vital to your vision, it can result in complete loss of vision over an extended period of time. Unfortunately, it does develop slowly, with no signs in the early stages. However, being familiar with its progression can help you become aware and seek treatment as early as possible.
What Are the Various Stages of Glaucoma?
Glaucoma develops slowly, working through different stages:
- Stage 1: It begins with changes in the drainage system, which causes an increase in intraocular pressure. You likely won’t be able to see or feel these effects without a professional.
- Stage 2: With changes in the intraocular pressure, you’ll eventually develop noticeable changes in your vision, including blurry vision and eye pain.
- Stage 3: Eye pressure will continue to increase. Stage three is an advanced stage of glaucoma.
- Stage 4: There will be severe damage to the optic nerve. You will need treatment by this time if you want to save your vision.
- Stage 5: The final stage involves a complete loss of vision.
Progression through these stages can take up to 15 years; however, some medical conditions can speed it up.
How Early Can Glaucoma Be Caught?
Since glaucoma has no signs or symptoms during those early stages, you may be wondering how or when it can be detected.
Glaucoma can be detected due to the structural changes it begins to cause to the optic nerve head and nerve fiber loss. While you may not be aware or notice this, an ophthalmologist can during a routine eye exam. After age 40, eye diseases and vision changes become more common, so it’s recommended that you begin scheduling comprehensive dilated eye exams every two years, according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology.
Schedule a Consultation Today
If you’re interested in learning more about glaucoma treatment in Wilmington or Supply, NC, Cape Fear Cataract & Cornea provides dependable options. Board-certified ophthalmologist, Dr. Brian J. Goat specializes in cataract, cornea, and anterior segment disease. With a consultation, he can discuss your glaucoma and propose treatment options to help improve your quality of life. Contact their office today at (910) 769-4590 or submit a contact form online.