Glaucoma is actually a group of diseases that can damage the eye’s optic nerve resulting in vision loss and blindness. Glaucoma occurs when the normal fluid pressure inside the eyes slowly rises.
Usually there are no symptoms, which is why glaucoma is called the silent thief of sight. However, with early treatment, you can often protect your eyes against serious vision loss. There are many types of glaucoma including open angle, closed angle, congenital, and secondary. The most common type, open angle, has no symptoms. There is no pain, redness, swelling, tearing or other signal to tell you of the problem.
The vision loss is so gradual, beginning in the periphery or in the normal blind spot, that people do not notice until significant loss occurs. One of the unique facts about eye fluid pressure is that everyone’s optic nerves have different tolerance levels. Two different individuals can have the same eye pressure level and only one may develop glaucoma. Some individuals are at higher risk for glaucoma than others. African-Americans over age 40 have a high risk of developing glaucoma. Everyone over the age of 60 has a high risk for glaucoma, especially Mexican Americans. Anyone with a family history of glaucoma has an elevated risk factor.
Glaucoma can only be detected through a comprehensive eye exam. If you have suffered vision loss as a result of glaucoma, low vision devices may be able to help you use your remaining vision.
Call us today to schedule an evaluation or a comprehensive eye exam. Your independence is too important to lose. More information can be found at the National Institute of Health website.