Glaucoma isn’t just one condition or disease but a group of diseases that harm the optic nerve. There is no pain and few symptoms in the early stages, but if glaucoma is left untreated, progressive damage occurs that leads to blindness.
10 Facts to Know About Glaucoma:
1. More than 4 million people in the United States have glaucoma.
2. Glaucoma damages the optic nerve there are many theories to the mechanisms of glaucoma ranging from blood flow to intraocular pressure.
3. Early stages damage is occurring on the cellular level, and in moderate stages of the disease diminish peripheral vision. If not controlled, glaucoma often eventually lead to blindness.
4. Glaucoma is a leading cause of blindness behind diabetes and macular degeneration.
5. Risk factors for developing glaucoma are:
– age greater then 40, although there are a subset of pediatric and juvenile glaucoma patients.
– diabetes particularly uncontrolled diabetes
– high blood pressure
– Ethnicity -African American or Hispanic descent
– Genetic component -family history of the disease
– Tobacco use
– High intraocular pressures (IOP)
– High myopia (nearsighted)
– Chronic long term use of corticosteroids
6. A dilated eye exam is the best way to detect glaucoma. After a detailed family history, your optometrist will evaluate the optic nerve for signs of glaucoma. Intraocular pressure (IOP) is another measurement that may help to determine glaucoma, but fluctuates throughout the day. If glaucoma is suspected, further testing will be done.
7. These diagnostic tests include a pachymetry to measure the thickness of the cornea, Gonioscopy to evaluate the angle in the eye, visual field tests to determine peripheral vision and digital retinal scanning like the OCT, GDx or other laser scanner. The retinal and optic nerve scans pick up on loss of nerve fibers before there are any symptoms. This is the optimum time to start therapy to slow the progression of the disease.
8. Glaucoma therapy consists of a variety of approaches each of which is designed to lower and control pressure in your eye.
– Medicated eye drops are typical first line treatment and are the least invasive.
– Laser procedures can be applied to help if compliance or if drops alone are not sufficient.
– Surgical procedures can be used depending on the type and how advanced the glaucoma is.
9. Glaucoma accounts for over 10 million visits to Eye Doctors each year, and costs about 2.8 Billion a year directly and productivity loss
10. The best way to prevent vision loss from glaucoma is through early diagnosis so make sure to schedule a complete eye exam with your optometrist at least once a year.
Don’t be a statistic call BA Eye Site today and schedule your comprehensive exam. Only 6.5 in 10 adults have their eyes checked at least every two years. Make time for your eyes as you only have two and they are not replaceable.