Glaucoma is a serious eye condition that, if not treated, can lead to vision loss. January is National Glaucoma Awareness Month, a good time to learn about this sight-stealing disease. Experts suggest that about three million people are living with glaucoma.
A similar number have it but are unaware of it. Glaucoma does not exhibit symptoms in the early stages. This is a good time to highlight what you need to know about glaucoma.
What Is Glaucoma?
Glaucoma is an eye condition that affects the eyes optic nerve, gradually affecting its ability to function. The condition impacts the way the eyes transmit images to the brain. The disease causes fluid levels to rise in the eyes.
Glaucoma usually begins without pain or other symptoms, and it can deteriorate gradually to cause blindness. Glaucoma usually affects the elderly, but people in all age brackets can get it. The condition is the leading cause of vision loss among individuals over 60 years old.
Can Glaucoma Be Treated?
Unfortunately, there is no cure for glaucoma. Vision loss due to the condition is impossible to reverse. However, treatment can help slow down the disease. The eyes need some fluid to maintain their function, but too much fluid can cause buildup.
The buildup of pressure occurring around the optic nerve causes the damage. Relieving the pressure can help protect the optic nerve. Medication and surgery can help prevent or slow down vision loss. The treatment used will depend on the type of glaucoma the patient has.
Types of Glaucoma
The effectiveness of glaucoma treatment will depend on getting an early diagnosis and the type of glaucoma receiving treatment. The two main types of glaucoma are primary open-angle glaucoma and acute angle-closure glaucoma.
Secondary glaucoma describes glaucoma that results from another disease or condition causing increased eye pressure. It does not exhibit symptoms, and vision loss begins with side or peripheral vision. You may not notice any significant changes until you lose your vision.
Who Is at Risk of Glaucoma?
Glaucoma is the second leading blindness-causing disease in the world. However, millions of people are still undiagnosed and risk losing their vision. Regular eye exams are necessary for the early detection of glaucoma. People who have a family history of the disease are at high risk of getting it.
Other high-risk individuals are those with high blood pressure in the eyes. Higher-risk people are those of African, Hispanic, and Asian descent. Individuals over 60 years, diabetics, and those severely myopic are at high risk.
When to Seek Medical Attention
If you are at high risk of developing glaucoma, you need to schedule an appointment with an eye specialist. If you have thin corneas or have used steroid medications for a long period, you need to visit a doctor.
You need an eye checkup if you have high eye pressure, an eye injury, or other conditions like migraines and poor blood circulation. It is vital to protect yourself and all your loved ones from glaucoma.
For more on what you need to know about glaucoma, visit Eastside Eye Physicians, PC, at our office in Shelby Township or St. Clair Shores, Michigan. You can call (586) 247-2020 or (586) 200-1905 today to schedule an appointment.