Maybe you’ve never heard of glaucoma. Maybe you’ve heard of it and even been screened for it by your eye doctor, but you aren’t quite sure what it is. Glaucoma is something everyone should know about. Why? Here are 4 good reasons from glaucoma.org:
- Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of blindness
- There is no cure and the disease cannot be reversed
- There may be no symptoms
- Everyone is at risk for glaucoma
Understanding certain facts about glaucoma can help you prevent the onset of the disease and keep your eyes healthy and happy.
What is Glaucoma?
Glaucoma actually refers to a group of diseases that all have the same effect. The most common type is called open-angle glaucoma. Essentially, the optic nerve, which connects the retina to the brain, gets damaged, leading to vision impairment or loss. The damage to the optic nerve results from too much pressure in the eye. Elevated eye pressure due to excess eye fluids is believed to play a part in the disease. Thus hypertension, or high blood pressure, is also a contributing factor.
Symptoms of Glaucoma
Unfortunately, glaucoma has no obvious symptoms. There is no pain, no redness, and no other sign that something is wrong. A change in vision is the first sign that glaucoma is present. Glaucoma affects the peripheral vision first, so that the outer edges of the field of vision are lost. This “tunnel vision” becomes increasingly worse, until the central vision is impaired or lost altogether.
Detecting the Disease
According to the National Eye Institute, a comprehensive glaucoma screening should include the following:
- Dilation of the pupil and use of a magnifying lens to examine the retina and optic nerve
- Visual acuity test to measure vision at varying distances
- Visual field test to measure peripheral vision
- Measuring of eye pressure using a tonometer
- Measuring of the thickness of the cornea
Early detection can help your eye doctor determine the right treatment options, which could include medicines, eye drops and laser surgeries to relieve eye pressure.
How to Prevent Glaucoma
There is no one way to prevent glaucoma. However, keeping your eyes as healthy as possible can help lessen your risk of developing the disease. Be sure to have an eye exam every two years until age 40, and then every year after age 40. If glaucoma is detected, proper treatment can prevent the disease from worsening and can help keep your vision intact. Exercising regularly can have a positive benefit for your eyes, as can a healthy diet with good vitamin and mineral intake. Be sure to protect your eyes from injury by wearing proper safety gear, as well.
Consult a Glaucoma Expert Today
Glaucoma can be easily treated when detected and supervised by an eye care professional. The doctors at Advanced Eye Medical have over 30 years of experience in screening and treating the disease. Schedule your appointment now and get started in preventing glaucoma. Your eyes will thank you for it!