Glaucoma is a disease caused by a build of eye pressure that leads to optic nerve damage and possible blindness. Glaucoma is the leading cause of blindness for those over 60 and the 2nd leading cause of blindness in the world, estimated number 60 million worldwide. The good news is glaucoma is very treatable when caught early and with managed treatment can prevent further eyesight loss.
There are different types of glaucoma. Infant or Congenital Glaucoma is usually diagnosed at the hospital before babies are released. This effects 1 out of every 10,000 babies in the U.S. Surgery is usually performed to fix the eye drainage issue. Other types of glaucoma are Primary Open-Angle and Closed-Angle Glaucoma. Primary Open-Angle is hard to detect due to the gradual build up of fluid over time. Closed-Angle is a vision emergency where there is pain, blurry vision, halos, headache and nausea.
- Eye Injury
- High Blood Pressure
- Family history of Glaucoma
- Over 60
- Heart Disease
- Poor Vision or Thin Corneas
- Heredity: African American, Irish, Russian, Japanese, Hispanic, Scandinavian
- Medications: Steroids, OTC cold remedies
- Fluid in your eye that can’t be released
- Physical damage to your eye
- Chemical damage to your eye
- Eye infections
- Eye blood vessels blocked
- Inflammatory health conditions
Regular eye exams can test the pressure in your eye and check for glaucoma. Most people experience no symptoms at all, that is why glaucoma is so tricky, the victims have no warning.
Many optometrists can now take a picture or scan of your optic nerve to determine the health of the optic nerve. They are looking for a normal intraocular eye pressure between 12 and 22. Your eye professional at consecutive eye visits can keep track of your eye pressure and see if it is starting to creep upwards. This can help them determine if a scan of the optic nerve is necessary.
Most people with glaucoma are treated with eye drops (usually administered daily) that lower the eyes fluid creation which will keep your eye pressure down and your optic nerve healthy and undamaged. In some cases oral medication may be prescribed. Laser surgery or microsurgery can be used to drain the eye and clear up any eye blockage that may exist.
- Know your family history.
- Get regular eye exams and have your eye checked for glaucoma every 3 to 5 years. If you are at high risk your eye doctor will set a schedule for checking your optic nerve and intraocular eye pressure.
- Protect your eyes with safety glasses and sunglasses when appropriate.
- Don’t smoke. Smoking increases eye inflammation and blood pressure.
- Eat leafy greens and get plenty of Omega 3’s in your diet. A healthy diet can help prevent many chronic conditions.
- Get regular exercise. Exercise even helps blood flow to the nerves in your eyes.
- Watch your caffeine intake, caffeine can increase eye pressure.
When surveyed American’s ranked blindness as their third health fear just behind cancer and heart disease. Glaucoma is an easily prevented cause of blindness. Regular eye exams can determine your intraocular eye pressure and determine if you have a problem. Glaucoma is a chronic condition that will need to be monitored. There is no cure but it does not have to lead to vision loss or blindness. Often times, glaucoma can be easily treated with daily eye drops that help lower eye pressure and keep your optic nerve healthy.
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