Glaucoma is a debilitating eye disease that can lead to blindness if not properly treated. What happens? The optic nerve becomes damaged and diminishes vision. Interestingly, most people know the name of this terrible condition but not nearly as many are familiar with the particulars. Fortunately, glaucoma can usually be controlled if caught in time. Still, the symptoms often go unnoticed at first, and because of this, a certain degree of damage could occur.
Let’s look at some important-to-know glaucoma info.
- Glaucoma is a major cause of blindness in America and around the world. It is estimated that in excess of 60 million people have the disease.
- Many sufferers are unaware they have glaucoma in the earlier stages because there are few recognizable symptoms. Loss of peripheral vision is typically one of the first noticeable indicators. If left untreated, glaucoma sufferers could come to view life as if they are seeing through a tunnel; eventually, eyesight may go completely.
- High fluid pressure is common in glaucoma. When this is the case, the pressure must be lowered to control the disease. Nonetheless, certain individuals with glaucoma have normal or even somewhat low optic pressure. At the same time, not everyone with elevated eye pressure has the condition (although these individuals should be closely monitored).
- There are different types of glaucoma: two common categories are open-angle and closed-angle. Open-angle glaucoma is the most common.
- Glaucoma normally occurs in individuals over 50 years of age, but some types affect juveniles.
- Risk factors for the disease includes family history, severe myopia (nearsightedness), injury to the eye or eyes, diabetes, certain medications (e.g., steroids), and thinning corneas.
- When glaucoma is brought upon by medication, it is often referred to as secondary glaucoma.
- African Americans are at a substantially higher risk than Caucasians of developing the disease.
- There are different tests eye specialists use to check for glaucoma. A visual acuity test and visual field test are two popular types.
- There is no known cure for glaucoma, but it can be treated. The severity of the disease will sometimes determine the course of action. Medicines (e.g., eye drops), lasers, and surgery are all treatment options.
- Treatment does not restore lost vision but often prevents further damage.
Safeguarding your precious eyesight is crucial. Therefore, eye exams are vital to detecting and arresting this progressive disease. Glaucoma leads blindness, but it usually does not have to take such a path. Regular visits with the optometrist and/or ophthalmologist can help protect your vision so you can continue to see the world around you.