Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases that gradually and silently steal sight with no warning. They cause a buildup of pressure inside your eye, which damages your optic nerve. A damaged optic nerve cannot send images to the brain correctly. Sadly, this disease has no symptoms; you wake up one day having lost your sight.
Glaucoma is the biggest cause of irreversible blindness. More than 3 million persons in America have glaucoma. This number is projected to increase by more than half by 2030 if people are not made aware of this condition.
Creating awareness may encourage the people to get checked early, allowing time for a treatment plan to control or slow glaucoma.
There are two common types of glaucoma. They are the primary forms of glaucoma. Chronic open-angle glaucoma is the most common in America. It has the most subtle warning signs. You may notice that your peripheral vision has changed, but when this happens, the disease is often at an advanced stage. There’s not much that can be done to save your sight then.
The other common type is angle-closure glaucoma. It develops when your iris starts to bulge outward, narrowing or completely blocking the drainage angle that forms between the iris and the cornea. With the restricted flow, fluid cannot circulate freely through the eyes. Internal pressure increases and damages the optic nerve. This form is not as common as open-angle glaucoma, but it develops very fast and demands hasty medical attention.
There are also secondary forms of glaucoma, but they form courtesy of other conditions. Some diseases may lead to increased eye pressure that damages the nerves and causes vision loss.
Everyone is at risk of developing glaucoma. But, some are more predisposed to the condition than others. Here are some predisposing factors that increase your risk of developing glaucoma:
Heart disease and high blood pressure.
A family history of glaucoma.
Persons of age 40 and above.
Recent eye injury or surgery.
Being of Asian, Hispanic, or African descent.
Persons with any of these risk factors are encouraged to have eye exams regularly.
Glaucoma has no cure. It causes irreversible damage to the optic nerve that leads to permanent vision loss.
The thought of blindness is scary to many people. Blindness is among the top health fears for many people. Yet, the only way to keep this from happening is to have regular eye exams. The check allows the condition to be caught early and possibly treated. Treatment helps to slow the progression but cannot reverse the damage caused.
The optometrist runs several tests during the eye exam to check for any signs of glaucoma. The tests include tonometry, visual field test, optical coherence tomography, and the ophthalmoscopy test. If there’s a possibility of having glaucoma, he or she conducts more specialized tests such as gonioscopy. The specialized tests help to determine the type of glaucoma you have.
For diagnosis, have an eye exam at least once a year. If you have any of the predisposing factors above, the risk of getting glaucoma is high, and you should have an eye exam more than once every year. Please understand that glaucoma diagnosis cannot be a DIY endeavor. The eye doctor must check you using the specialized tests above.
Glaucoma is a severe eye condition with subtle symptoms. But, regular eye exams may help catch it early, and intervention may stop or slow disease progression. Have your eyes examined by our professionals at the Eye Care Center at any of our three offices in Minnesota. You can also call us to request an appointment. Dial (763) 308-8440 to reach the Fridley office, (651) 777-3555 to contact the Maplewood office, and (763) 420-6981 to call the Maple Groove office.