A group of eye diseases that lead to damage of the optic nerve (the nerve fiber that carries information from the eye to the brain) is known as glaucoma. This damage from glaucoma can lead to vision loss and the possibility of blindness. Damage to the optic nerve usually occurs when there is a high eye pressure, but glaucoma occurrence can still be valid with normal or below normal eye pressure. Ophthalmologists will recommend that patients who have a family history of glaucoma take precaution and serious steps to get their eye health in control as soon as possible. Whether eye health examinations every six months or at the very least once annually.
There are multiple types of Glaucoma. Open-angle glaucoma is one of the two main forms of glaucoma and affects 95% of individuals. The other type is called closed-angle glaucoma. Normal-tension, congenital, pseudo-exfoliation syndrome, juvenile, neovascular, pigmentary, and iridocorneal-endothelial syndrome (ICE syndrome) are several other varieties of glaucoma. Any form of Glaucoma will have a very strong impact on your eye health, so if there is any chance you or a loved one may be suspect of glaucoma, visit Dr. Attri at Advanced Eye Clinic or your local optometrist or eye care physician today to set up an appointment and get an eye exam.
Around the world, an estimated 66.8 million people have visual impairments due to glaucoma, with 6.7 million suffering from blindness. Your eye exam can help determine Glaucoma risk and if caught early can slow down the progression of the glaucoma. In the U.S, about 2.2 million people at and over the age of 40 have glaucoma, and of these individuals, 120,000 are blind due to the disease. By the year 2020, the number of people with glaucoma is set to increase to about 3.3 million. Vision experts estimate that half of those affected may not even know of its existence because symptoms may not be vivid or occur at all in the early stages of development. Which is why it is extremely important see your eye doctor and schedule an eye exam to check your eye health. Glaucoma can happen to anyone and if you have a family history of glaucoma, it is best to schedule your appointment for a visual field to test your peripheral vision for glaucoma through Advanced Eye Clinic or your local eye doctor.
The leading cause of blindness among African Americans and Hispanics in the United States is due to glaucoma. Between the ages of 45 and 64, glaucoma is 15 times more likely to cause blindness in those of African Americans & Hispanic descent. Knowing your family history is also very telling of your eye health. individuals with Japanese ancestry may be at a greater risk for normal-tension glaucoma, and that those of Asian and Eskimo descent may have a greater risk for closed-angle glaucoma.
High-risk factors for open-angle glaucoma, the most common form of the disease, include:
- being between the ages of 40 and 60
- having a family history of the disease
- Those whose eyes are very nearsighted
- Those that have a history of diabetes
- have experienced eye injury or eye surgery
- taking or have taken prescription steroids also have an increased risk of developing glaucoma
After an eye exam, eye doctors will recommend whether or not to go into further examination with glaucoma. The most common form of glaucoma is the open-angle glaucoma which has no symptoms at first. The peripheral vision is lost at some point and without treatment, total blindness can occur. Book your eye exam today to make sure you are not at risk of Glaucoma. Glasses and contact lenses do not help with Glaucoma.
Symptoms of Acute Glaucoma or Closed Angle Glaucoma which is a sudden, complete blocking of fluid flowing out of the eye, can include:
- Severe pain
- blurred vision
- seeing a rainbow halo around lights
Closed-angle glaucoma is a medical emergency and must be treated immediately or blindness could occur rapidly.
Early diagnosis and treatment can control glaucoma before vision loss or blindness occurs. However, there is no cure for glaucoma. Because there is no cure, it is extremely crucial to visit your optometrist for an eye exam to test for glaucoma. The earlier you get your eye exam done, the quicker they can act and control the glaucoma. Several tests, including a visual acuity test, visual field test, dilated eye exam, tonometry, and pachymetry are all used to help your eye care doctor to detect glaucoma. Individuals at high risk for glaucoma should be dilated through the dilation examination and have a visual field test taken annually. Retinal imaging is a great idea for someone who is a suspect for glaucoma as your eye doctor can follow your photo throughout years to monitor progression of glaucoma. Your eye care should be number one priority if you are a glaucoma suspect.By coming annually, your eye care doctor can keep up with your glaucoma and control it.
Early treatment for acute glaucoma will usually begin with medications/eye drops that will either drain the fluid from the eye more effectively or cause it to produce less fluid. Laser surgery that comes in a variety of forms can also help drain fluid from the eye. If all of the other treatments fail, incisional surgery can be done by creating a new opening to drain the fluid from the eye. Visit Advanced Eye Clinic or your local optometrist for further information or for an eye exam today!
New research is not only focusing on reducing pressure from the inside of the eye, but is exploring new medication that will protect and preserve the optic nerve from the damage that causes vision loss as all how genetic factors play a role. Progress has been made in the understanding behind the genetics of glaucoma for the last few years. Genes that are associated with congenital, juvenile, normal-tension, adult-onset open-angle, pigmentary glaucoma, and other condition related to secondary glaucoma have been found.
Fortunately, at Advanced Eye Clinic our optometrists work closely with surgeons and ophthalmologists that also may have more advanced methods of treating glaucoma. More research gives us more hope.