Glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness in the United States and half of the people who have the disease are unaware that they are going blind. Glaucoma does not always present distinct, external symptoms such as redness in the eye or pain. Untreated glaucoma can steal vision silently and painlessly.
Risk Factors for Glaucoma
- High eye (intraocular) pressure (IOP)
- Ethnic groups of African-Americans, Hispanics and Asians
- Older age
- Family history of glaucoma
Glaucoma damages vision by destroying the optic nerve which carries visual information to the brain for processing. Peripheral vision or side vision is lost first; if glaucoma remains untreated, vision loss creeps in towards the center creating tunnel vision and eventually blindness.
If you are diagnosed with glaucoma, treatment is available to save your vision. The goal of glaucoma treatment is to lower IOP and stop optic nerve damage. Several kinds of treatments are accessible to lower IOP such as eye drops, laser therapy and surgery.
Glaucoma is called the “Silent Thief of Sight” for good reason. If any of these risk factors apply it is important to schedule an eye exam so that IOP can be measured and a visual field test performed which will determine if any side vision loss has occurred. The eye is our window to the world; preserve your precious sight by scheduling an eye exam today. Your doctor will work with you to develop a treatment plan.