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What Is Glaucoma?

What is Glaucoma?

Glaucoma is a family of eye diseases where an abundance of pressure build-up in the eye causes damage to the optical nerve, the part of your eye responsible for sending images to your brain. In most cases, the pressure build-up is due to areas in the front of the eye becoming insufficient in draining vital fluids. The destruction of the optical nerve eventually leads to permanent vision loss and blindness.

Signs & Symptoms

Glaucoma is a clandestine eye condition. The disease often has no warning signs or pain associated with its onset. The pressure build-up in the eye is so gradual that symptoms are not perceived until the disease enters an advanced state. Vision loss usually occurs along the peripheral of one's sight, leading many to unconsciously compensate by turning their head in a way that lets them see normally. One should promptly go to the emergency room or seek an optometrist if they experience any symptoms of glaucoma, including severe headaches, eye pain, and blurred vision.

Risks

Since glaucoma is difficult to detect through symptoms alone, it's essential to be conscious of its risk factors. Risk factors of glaucoma include being over the age of 60, genetics, having a family history of glaucoma, having severe nearsightedness or farsightedness, and having other diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Those with multiple risk factors should schedule regular dilated eye exams.

Treatments

Regular dilated eye exams are essential to the discovery of glaucoma. Early discovery of glaucoma can facilitate effective treatment. Glaucoma treatment options include special eye drops, oral medications, laser surgery, and microsurgery. All treatment options perform one of two things, they either lower the creation of fluid in the eye or increase the flow of fluid in the eye. Other prevention measures include being aware of one's family eye health history, getting regular exercise, eating healthy, not smoking, and wearing eye protection. Schedule regular eye exams with your optometrist to ensure you are not at risk of glaucoma.