More than 200,000 Americans are diagnosed with glaucoma each year. This is a disease that damages the optic nerve of the eye over time, leading to vision loss. Without treatment, permanent vision loss will happen. With the right care by an eye doctor and some eye care tips, you can stop the progression of glaucoma.
If you’ve “glaucoma” before, then you might know it’s something to do with your eyes, and something you don’t want. Studies show that glaucoma is an eye disease that is the second leading cause of blindness in people, according to the American Optometric Association. This condition happens most often to people over 60 years old, although the development is also common in those over 40. There is even a type of glaucoma that develops in children, although is it more rare.
Blindness and vision loss can happen for many reasons. Not using sunglasses can lead to damage from UV radiation. Too much blue light from digital and electronic devices for years can cause macular degeneration, which lead to blindness. Sudden injuries, chemicals in the eyes, medications and more can lead to vision loss. Glaucoma is a condition that leads to blindness because the optic nerve of the eye becomes damaged.
When you look at an object, the light from that object hits your eye, going through the various eye tissues until that light reaches the retina tissue. That tissue is located in the back of your eye, and it’s where light is interpreted. You have central vision, color vision, clear vision and more from the retina tissue of your eye. When that light hits it, the nerves there send information to your brain of what you are seeing. It sends that information through the optic nerve, which connects your retina and your brain nerves together. There is about 1 million nerve fibers in your optic nerve that transmit light information to your brain.
With glaucoma, fluid builds up around the optic nerve of the eye. That fluid will eventually put enough pressure on your optic nerve, causing damage. When that happens, your optic nerve can’t tell your brain what you are seeing. Your eyes may have light hitting them, but you can’t interpret it. When this condition happens, peripheral (side) vision is generally the first part of your vision that is lost. Over time, without treatment, you will slowly lose more and more vision towards the center of your eye until you are blind. Proper intervention can slow down that glaucoma progression.
Slow Down Glaucoma Progression
The most common type of glaucoma is called “primary open-angle glaucoma”.
This type will develop so slowly that you may have significant vision loss before you even realize something is wrong. That’s because there are not noticeable symptoms until very late stages. Acute angle-closure glaucoma happens very rapidly and will be accompanied by severe eye pain and other symptoms such as redness, blurred vision, seeing halos or lights in your vision. You could even experience nausea.
Having chronic conditions or other diseases will certainly raise your risk for glaucoma. Being over 40 and especially age 60 increases your risk as well. Glaucoma can run in families and some races of people more than others. Your medications—such as corticosteroids—raises the risk. If you want to avoid glaucoma, try as much as possible to have a healthy diet and exercise. These reduce your risk for eye problems and overall health problems. Eat a diet rich in fruits and veggies and protein, which will provide you with tons of nutrients you need to have healthy eyes.
If you already have glaucoma, you want to follow your medication regimen closely. Some medications can stop the progression fully, but only if you take that medication consistently. There actually is no cure for glaucoma, but those medications to stop its progression are your best bet for keeping your vision.
Glaucoma is detected in an eye visit by an ophthalmologist, meaning you have to actually see an ophthalmologist to avoid glaucoma or its progression. Not every eye professional is the same, and you’ll get different services from each. Anyone can provide you with an eye screening, which is why many of them can be inaccurate. An optician can help provide you with glasses and contacts, but they may not be equipped to find the presence of eye diseases. However, an ophthalmologist has had at least 10 years of school just learning about your eyes and how they work.
For healthy eyes, you should definitely see an ophthalmologist for a comprehensive eye exam. An eye exam includes a number of tests and procedures to examine and evaluate the health of your eyes the quality of your vision. These tests range from simple ones—like having you read an eye chart—to complex tests, such as using a high-powered lens to examine the health of the tissues inside your eyes. There are actually over 100 tests we can perform for routine eye health checks or for tracking eye diseases such as glaucoma.
When you get a comprehensive eye exam, we can detect the presence of glaucoma even before you know you have glaucoma forming. Many patients don’t notice the presence of this disease until it has reached more severe stages, which is why you want to have eye exams frequently. That’s at least every 2 years or more frequently, if needed. With the right detection and treatment, you can slow down the progression of the disease or stop it from moving forward at all. That is why it’s so important to visit the eye doctor. You can prevent blindness and enjoy your vision for many years to come. To schedule your eye exam, call Peeper’s Optical today at (303) 333-2800!