Glaucoma – What is Glaucoma?
Nearly half of those afflicted with Glaucoma (almost 2 million Americans) are completely unaware of the problem, which is why it’s commonly referred to as “the silent thief of sight”. This makes Glaucoma a very dangerous disease, as there are virtually no symptoms until vision has been affected, and there is no way to regain that vision once it’s been lost.
Glaucoma is when the eye’s optic nerve (the bundle of fibers connecting the retina to the brain) is damaged by certain diseases. It is possible to avoid serious vision loss in a lot of cases, but only when the condition is detected and treated early.
Glaucoma – Symptoms
Open-angle glaucoma and angle-closure glaucoma are the most common types of glaucoma, and have completely different symptoms.
Open-Angle Glaucoma Symptoms:
- Gradual Loss of Peripheral Vision (normally in both eyes)
- Tunnel Vision (advanced cases)
Narrow-angle Glaucoma Symptoms:
- Severe Eye Pain
- Eyes Redden
- Visual Disturbances (often in low light)
- Blurred Vision
Glaucoma is referred to as “Primary Condition” when the condition can not be traced back to a specific cause. Alternatively, Glaucoma is referred to as a “Secondary Condition” when you are able to trace the condition back to a known cause that might include a certain eye condition, an eye injury, a medication, a tumor, inflammation, or an advanced cataract or diabetic condition.
Glaucoma – Who’s At Risk?
Anyone can develop glaucoma, but certain groups carry higher risk than others including:
- Those with a family history of Glaucoma
- Anyone with abnormal optic nerve anatomy
- High eye pressure patients
- Those with thin corneas
- Long-term corticosteroid users (especially eye drops)
- Anyone age 60+ (especially Mexican Americans)
- African Americans age 40+
- People of Asian descent (acute angle-closure glaucoma specifically)
- People of Japanese descent (normal-tension glaucoma specifically)
People with combinations of these high-risk factors can, in certain cases, reduce the chances of developing glaucoma by about half using eye drop medications.