Glaucoma is a disease that develops when the eyes are unable to drain fluid. The channels that would normally drain the fluid become blocked, causing pressure to build in the eyes. This pressure damages the optic nerve and can cause permanent vision loss.
Glaucoma is a terrible disease to have but it is treatable and when it is caught early enough, most permanent vision loss can be minimized. Unfortunately, 58 percent of Americans skip their yearly eye exams. Because the early stages of glaucoma produce few symptoms, it can be hard to detect without yearly eye exams.
Knowledge is the best protection against common eye diseases like glaucoma. This article will look at who is affected by glaucoma, what the signs are, and how it is treated.
Who is affected by Glaucoma?
Glaucoma is the leading cause of blindness in the Western world but most people know very little about it. More than 3 million Americans are currently living with glaucoma and it affects over 60 million people worldwide.
People who have a family history of glaucoma tend to be at higher risk of developing it themselves. If you have a genetic predisposition to glaucoma you should let your doctor know. Glaucoma is more common among people who are over the age of 40 and people who have diabetes. However, glaucoma can affect individuals of all ages so you shouldn’t assume you are safe just because your risk factors for developing glaucoma are low.
Signs and Symptoms
The most common forms of glaucoma are called primary open-angle and angle-close glaucoma. Primary open-angle is the most common form of glaucoma and it can be hard to detect without an eye exam. It is painless, symptom-free, and doesn’t cause vision loss right away.
Closed angle glaucoma is less common but it has very obvious symptoms like nausea, vision problems, and sudden vision impairment. It is important to contact your doctor immediately if you notice any of these symptoms because closed angle glaucoma causes vision damage much more quickly.
At this time, there is no cure for glaucoma but there are treatments available. There are medications available to reduce the pressure in the eye and eye drops are usually the first treatment. If these options do not work your doctor may recommend surgery. Early detection and treatment are important for maintaining the health of your eyes.
For more information about glaucoma and possible treatment options, schedule an appointment with one of our doctors at our Tallahassee location.