The older we get, the more maintenance our bodies seem to require. Our efforts to maintain a simple balance of health and enjoyment from life become less straightforward. We find ourselves giving in to the advice we previously ignored and seeking easy solutions to nagging issues. Our joints hurt. Our muscles ache. We can’t hear. We can’t see.
At Eyes of Lubbock, we can help with at least one of those matters, and with regular eye exams, we can address potential problems before they become an issue.
What is Glaucoma?
The leading cause of Blindness in adults over 60, glaucoma is a disease associated with damage to your eye’s optic nerve caused by a buildup of fluid in the front part of your eye. The fluid creates pressure that pushes back on the optic nerve, killing the fibers and creating gradual “blindspots” within the eye that are irreparable.
There are two types of Glaucoma, rather than a solitary condition, that define the disease.
Open-angle glaucoma is the most common form of the disease. With this type of glaucoma, vision is lost gradually due to fluid buildup over time. There is usually no pain associated with open-angle glaucoma, and vision loss may not be perceived until later on. Due to the gradual loss of vision deterioration, it’s essential to have regular eye exams that monitor eye pressure. These exams will help to maintain healthy vision and prevent extraneous optic nerve damage caused by prolonged fluid pressure.
Angle-closure glaucoma or closed-angle/narrow-angle glaucoma can lead to an emergency and needs to be addressed immediately. This type of glaucoma occurs when a person’s iris is too close to the drainage angle in their eye, blocking the drainage angle and causing fluid pressure to rise quickly. An acute attack like this needs immediate treatment, or blindness can occur.
Who is at Risk of Glaucoma?
While almost anyone over 60 is susceptible to glaucoma, The following groups of people have a higher risk and should consider regular eye exams to be proactive against the onset of glaucoma.
- People over 40 who are of African, Asian, or Hispanic heritage
- People who use long-term steroid medications
- People with high blood pressure or diabetes
- People with poor circulation or have frequent migraines
- People with a family history of glaucoma
If you fall within any of the above categories, consider calling an eye expert today to get an eye exam. Glaucoma is not a curable disease, but catching symptoms early can help you slow and, in some cases, prevent vision loss.
How Do I Prevent Glaucoma?
Even though there isn’t a cure for glaucoma, your sight can still be preserved, and vision loss can be prevented or even slowed if the symptoms are found early enough. You should tell your doctor if you are at higher risk of glaucoma to make sure a complete eye exam is administered. During this exam, the ophthalmologist will check your eye pressure, inspect drainage angles, check for optic nerve damage, and test blindspots in your vision.
While the test is a good indicator of whether or not you have or are susceptible to glaucoma, the effectiveness of treatment depends on how well you communicate with your doctor and how well you follow their treatment plan.
Most treatment plans consist of eye drops and frequent visits to your ophthalmologist. The eye drops are medicated to reduce eye pressure and relieve strain on the optic nerve. Other treatment plans include laser surgery to treat the disease. In these cases, the surgery helps to correct the drainage angle so that fluid can flow out more efficiently. When the pressure is relieved, so is potential damage to the optic nerve.
These treatments can bring back any amount of vision that has already been lost, but they can prevent further sight deterioration. The sooner that symptoms are identified, the sooner treatment can begin.
Eyes of Lubbock know how vital your vision is to you. Glaucoma is a silent sight killer, and it’s essential to be diagnosed before it affects your ability to perform everyday tasks. If you are worried about the possibility of glaucoma affecting you, call Eyes of Lubbock today to get a complete eye exam scheduled today!