We had the opportunity to speak with Dr. Scott Lewis about Glaucoma- here is part 1 of the transcript of our interview.
Q: What is glaucoma?
Glaucoma is an eye disease that causes damage to the optic nerve inside the eye. The optic nerve transmits vision information from the eye to the brain, so untreated glaucoma can lead to vision loss.
Q: What causes glaucoma?
Glaucoma is caused by an increase in pressure inside the eye. Normally, fluid is produced in the front of the eye, and then drains out through an area between the cornea and iris. If the drain is not working properly, fluid builds up causing an increase in ocular pressure. This increase in ocular pressure then damages the optic nerve.
Q: Who gets glaucoma?
Glaucoma typically affects patients over 50. Open-angle glaucoma, which is the most common type of glaucoma, is three times more likely to affect African-Americans, compared to non-Hispanic whites in the United States. People with family members who have glaucoma, especially those with siblings with glaucoma, have an increased risk of developing the disease themselves.
Q: How is glaucoma harmful to vision?
Glaucoma damages the optic nerve, which transmits signals from the eye to the brain. Damage from glaucoma typically starts to affect peripheral vision first. Only in later stages as glaucoma progresses does it affect central vision as well.
Q: Will I go blind from glaucoma?
Glaucoma often is called the "silent thief of sight," because most types typically cause no pain and produce no symptoms until noticeable vision loss occurs.
For this reason, glaucoma often progresses undetected until the optic nerve already has been irreversibly damaged, with varying degrees of permanent vision loss.
Stay tuned for part 2 of our interview with Dr. Lewis on Glaucoma.