Glaucoma is an eye condition that damages the optic nerve, usually due to abnormally high eye pressure. This nerve is essential for good vision. Damage can lead to vision loss or blindness. Glaucoma can happen at any age but is more common among people over 60.
It is a common cause of blindness for senior adults. The effects of the disease happen gradually, with most people not noticing vision changes until the advanced stages. You can find out the top risk factors for glaucoma.
Glaucoma occurs due to optic nerve damage, believed to be related to increased eye pressure, resulting from a buildup of fluid that flows inside the eye (aqueous humor).
The aqueous humor usually drains out at the section where the cornea and iris meet. When the drainage system fails to function correctly, or there is an overproduction of fluid, it causes increased eye pressure. Deterioration of the nerve leads to blind spots in the visual field.
Symptoms of the disease will depend on the type of glaucoma. The symptoms include:
Blind spots in the peripheral or central vision
Tunnel vision during the advanced stages
Nausea and vomiting
Halos around lights
If not treated, the condition will eventually lead to blindness. Even after treatment, some people may end up blind within 20 years.
Vision loss from glaucoma is irreversible. It is, therefore, crucial to get early detection and treatment. Taking eye pressure measurements during regular eye exams helps in making a diagnosis in the early stages. If diagnosed early, doctors can treat glaucoma appropriately or control it effectively.
Patients will generally require treatment for life. There are different types of glaucoma, including open-angle, acute angle-closure, and normal-tension glaucoma. Others are pigmentary glaucoma and glaucoma in children.
Chronic glaucoma can destroy the patient’s vision before symptoms become apparent. It is, therefore, helpful to know the risk factors for the condition. The factors include:
Being over 60 years old
Being of Asian, African, or Hispanic descent
Having high intraocular pressure
A family history of glaucoma
Being severely nearsighted or farsighted
Certain medical conditions, including diabetes, high blood pressure, or heart disease
Past eye surgery or an eye injury
Having corneas with a thin central section
Prolonged use of corticosteroid medications such as eye drops
You can do things to prevent or slow down vision loss from glaucoma. Getting regular dilated eye exams can help detect the disease in the early stages. It is also essential to find out your family’s eye health history, embrace safe exercise, and take prescribed medication regularly.
Eating a healthy diet, staying hydrated, and sleeping with the head elevated is vital for eye health. Wearing eye protection can help prevent injuries that can lead to glaucoma. An eye doctor will carry out a comprehensive eye exam to look for signs of glaucoma.
Regular checkups and treatment can help prevent or slow vision loss. Treatment usually involves lowering the eye pressure and may include oral medications, prescription eye drops, laser treatment, or surgery.
For more on risk factors for glaucoma, visit Berris Optical at our Rocky River, Ohio office. Call 440-571-7100 to schedule an appointment today.