Many times, people with glaucoma don’t even know that they have it. It doesn’t often show signs until it’s in its later stages. This eye condition affects the optic nerve, potentially resulting in blindness. While there remains no cure for glaucoma, vision loss can be prevented with early diagnosis and treatment.
Continue reading to learn more about glaucoma.
What Is Glaucoma?
Glaucoma is an eye condition that can deteriorate your vision without you even knowing it. It usually affects middle-aged and older adults. The optic nerve is the part of the eye responsible for delivering images to the brain. Vision loss occurs when glaucoma causes damage to the optic nerve.
The two main types of glaucoma are primary open-age glaucoma and angle-closure glaucoma. They are characterized by increased intraocular pressure (IOP). However, optic nerve damage can still occur even if you have a normal IOP. If this is the case, you could have normal-tension glaucoma. Then, there’s also secondary glaucoma that pertains to cases where another health condition causes increased eye pressure – which damages the optic nerve – and vision loss.
Who Is at Risk of It?
Some groups of people are at higher risk of glaucoma. This includes African Americans older than 40, individuals with a family history of glaucoma and diabetics. Compared to white Americans, African Americans are six to eight times more likely to have glaucoma. Meanwhile, diabetics have twice the risk of glaucoma than individuals without diabetes.
What Can You Do About It?
Early detection of glaucoma can help prevent vision loss and delay its progression. Regular eye exams can aid with the early diagnosis of this eye condition. Your eye doctor can determine the ideal screening schedule for you. Moreover, it’s also helpful to know your family’s health history.
Good lifestyle practices like eating well-balanced meals and regular exercise help lower the risk of glaucoma. When going outdoors, wear sunglasses that can block ultraviolet – UVA and UVB – rays. If you have glaucoma, use the eye drops prescribed by your eye doctor.
At Northern Virginia Doctors of Optometry, we offer eye care services tailored to your needs. Call us at (703) 467-9080, or fill out our contact form to schedule an appointment.