Glaucoma, one of the leading causes of blindness in the United States, is the result of a build-up of pressure in the eye, resulting in damage to the nerve fibers, optic nerve, and blood vessels in the eye.
Cause: Not known, although heredity and age might be factors.
Symptoms: The most common type of glaucoma develops without symptoms, gradually and painlessly. A rare form occurs rapidly and its symptoms may include blurred vision, loss of side vision, seeing colored rings around lights and pain or redness in the eyes. Your optometrist can detect glaucoma by measuring the internal pressure of your eye and observing the health of your optic nerve during a comprehensive eye examination.
What you can do: If you are over 40 or have a family history of glaucoma, you'll want to schedule a yearly exam. If glaucoma is detected, you need to take you medication exactly as prescribed.
Good News: If detected early, glaucoma can be controlled. However, at least half of the people who have glaucoma are not receiving treatment because they are unaware of their condition. If this disease is not detected, it can lead to permanent blindness.
At high-risk: Glaucoma is the number one cause of vision loss in African Americans.
U.S. Health and Human Services Department and MayoClinic.com provided some of this information.
With life expectancy figures continuing to climb, managing Glaucoma successfully can be essential for people to live healthy, happy, and productive lives. By performing a regular, comprehensive eye exam, your optometrist can successfully detect Glaucoma. Then, your optometrist can treat Glaucoma in conjunction with your other health care providers.