What is Glaucoma and why should I have my eyes examined?

What is Glaucoma and why should I have my eyes examined?
by Anjana P. Jindal, MD
Board-certified ophthalmologist and fellowship trained glaucoma specialist
What is Glaucoma?
Glaucoma is a group of eye disorders that can cause damage to the optic nerve and lead to permanent loss of vision if left untreated.
Why is it important that I get my eyes examined?
Glaucoma is the 2nd leading cause of blindness worldwide and the leading cause of blindness in African Americans. An estimated 2.25 million Americans have glaucoma and half are unaware they have it! Damage may be prevented if caught early and treatment is started.
Who gets Glaucoma?
Anyone can get Glaucoma. Main risk factors include: Older age, high eye pressure, family history, African/hispanic ancestry, steroid use, and trauma/injury to your eye.
Are there different types of glaucoma?
Yes, there are 2 general types:
1.Open angle Glaucoma
2. Narrow/Closed angle Glaucoma.
his can only be determined by careful examination by your eye doctor.
Does my eye pressure have to be “high” to have Glaucoma?
No. While the higher the eye pressure, the greater the risk for Glaucoma, Glaucoma can happen at ANY pressure.
How will I know if I have Glaucoma?
Most people (90%) do not have any symptoms of Glaucoma until significant damage has occurred or the eye pressure is very high (10%). Glaucoma is nicknamed the “silent thief of sight” because the loss of vision normally occurs gradually over a long period of time and is often only recognized when the disease is quite advanced. This is why being examined by your eye doctor is so important.
 
What can be done if I have Glaucoma?
There is currently no cure for Glaucoma; however, medication or surgery can slow or prevent further vision loss. Early detection is vital to stopping the progress of the disease.
Who should have their eyes examined?
• Anyone with a family history of Glaucoma
• African ancestry > 40 years
• All individuals > 60 years
• Anyone with poor peripheral (side) vision
Fortunately, Glaucoma is highly treatable if detected early. The key to preventing serious vision loss or blindness from Glaucoma is annual, dilated eye examination. Your eye doctor will check your vision, eye pressure, and do a complete eye exam. If necessary we will perform additional tests such as visual field testing and optic nerve imaging to help in the diagnosis and monitoring. Contact Katzen Eye Group today to discuss your Glaucoma treatment options.

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