Skip to main content
Make an Appointment
Menu
Home » What's New » What You Need to Know About Glaucoma – The Sneak Thief of Sight

What You Need to Know About Glaucoma – The Sneak Thief of Sight

glaucoma_640x350

January is National Glaucoma Awareness Month.

What is Glaucoma?

Glaucoma, a silent eye disease, is the most common form of irreversible blindness in the world. It is actually a group of diseases that causes progressive damage to the optic nerve. 

  • Glaucoma is a progressive eye disease that can lead to permanent vision loss if not controlled. 
  • There is currently no cure for glaucoma, but there are many treatments available for stopping and slowing the progressive damage to the eye. Treatment, however, can’t reverse damage that is already done.
  • Glaucoma affects the optic nerve which sends visual information from your eye to your brain. 
  • Glaucoma is called the “Thief Sneak of Sight” because there are often no symptoms in the early stages such as pain or "pressure sensation" as one may expect, and by the time it is diagnosed there may already be permanent vision loss.
  • When vision loss occurs, peripheral vision is typically affected before central vision. As a result, glaucoma is a major public health issue because individuals usually do not notice any problem with vision until end stages of the disease when there is severe and irreversible vision loss.
  • Awareness and regular eye exams are key to early detection and preventing vision loss. 

What Causes Glaucoma?

Glaucoma is caused by a buildup of natural fluid that doesn’t drain properly from the eye. The buildup of fluid can result in high pressure in the eye which is the most common cause of the condition. There are many types of glaucoma, which include:

Chronic (open angle) glaucoma occurs when pressure builds up over time, usually as a result of aging. This is the most common type of glaucoma. 

Acute (angle closure) glaucoma is an acute condition where pressure builds up suddenly and demands immediate medical attention. Symptoms include blurred vision, eye pain, headaches, seeing halos around lights, nausea and vomiting. 

Secondary glaucoma results from another eye disease, condition or a trauma to the eye. 

Normal tension glaucoma is when there is no build up of pressure but the optic nerve is still damaged. We are still not yet sure what causes this type of glaucoma. 

Who is at Risk for Glaucoma?

Everyone is at risk of glaucoma however there are certain factors which increase the likelihood of developing the condition. Vision loss from glaucoma can be greatly reduced when detected and treated early which is why knowing your risk factors can play a tremendous role in prevention. 

Age

Age is one of the biggest risk factors, as your chances of developing glaucoma increase significantly after the age of 40. In fact people over 60 years old are six times more likely to get the condition. 

Ancestry and Family History

Individuals from African American, Hispanic, Asian and Native American or Aboriginal Canadian descent are at increased risk. Family history is a very strong factor as the condition occurs twice as much in people with close relatives who have had glaucoma. 

Previous Eye Injury, Traumas or Surgery

Eye injuries, traumas or surgeries have been known to sometimes cause secondary glaucoma which can happen immediately after the injury or procedure, or even years later. Even childhood injuries can result in secondary glaucoma later in life. 

Use of Steroids

Studies show that prolonged steroid use is linked to increased elevated intraocular pressure which increases the risk of open-angle glaucoma. 

 

Certain medical and eye conditions such as diabetes, hypertension and high myopia (nearsightedness) also increase a person’s risk of developing glaucoma. 

Glaucoma Treatment

While there is no cure for glaucoma, there are treatments to slow down the progression of the disease including eye drop medications, iridotomies, iridectomies, laser procedures and surgeries. 

Glaucoma Prevention

Other than taking care of any underlying conditions that may increase the risk of developing glaucoma, there is little one can do in the way of prevention. You can however reduce your chances of suffering vision loss. The first step is knowing the risk factors and signs of the condition (even though as mentioned most cases have no symptoms in the early stages, until vision is already lost). 

The best possible way to prevent vision loss is to have regular comprehensive eye exams to check the health of your eyes and if your eye doctors prescribes medication for glaucoma, make sure to diligently take them as directed. Your eye doctor will be able to conduct certain tests to detect eye diseases such as glaucoma before you even begin to notice symptoms. If you have any of the risk factors above, mention it to your eye doctor, and always be sure to schedule a yearly eye exam, or as often as your eye doctor recommends, to check the health of your eyes and rule out any underlying or developing eye conditions like glaucoma. 

x

At Advanced Eyecare, the health and safety of our patients and team members continue to be our top priority as we respond to the evolving COVID-19 (Coronavirus) outbreak.

The CDC has advised voluntary reduction of patient load to essential services only. We are diligently sanitizing our premises and taking precautions to do our part in mitigating the spread of the virus. We have revised our testing protocol to reduce contact as much as possible.

We ask that if you are not in need of essential medical services, you delay your visit until after March 30, 2020. We will be closing our office to routine care on March 20, 2020 and will be seeing urgent issues only. We are currently available during business hours by phone and email to schedule you if you have an urgent issue. You can also request an appointment at www.advanced-eyecare.com.

If you have visited Coronavirus hot spot areas or have traveled in the last two weeks, have symptoms of fever, sore throat, congestion, cough, shortness of breath or generalized fatigue, please contact us to reschedule right away and observe the recommended 14 day quarantine.

For those of you coming in, please text or call us when you arrive in the parking lot. We will advise you of the best time to enter the office. This will make it safer for you and for others.

We are still receiving orders into the office, so delivery times are still on schedule as of now. We are also extending contact lens prescriptions and glasses prescriptions for 30 days for patients affected by the disruption of our schedule.

Should the office need to close unexpectedly, you will receive notification as soon as possible. Follow our Facebook page for up-to-date information at https://www.facebook.com/aecwv/

Thank you for your understanding and cooperation. For more information, please visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/index.html.

Advanced Eyecare Call 304-766-2220 Email: advanced-eyecare@suddenlinkmail.com Online Scheduling: advanced-eyecare.com