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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. 


Causes of 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 Glaucoma

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

  • Eye pain

  • Severe headaches

  • Blurry vision

  • Nausea and vomiting

  • Eye redness

  • 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. 


Early Detection of Glaucoma


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.


Top Risk Factors for Glaucoma 


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


Preventing Vision Loss 


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.

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