January is National Glaucoma Awareness Month. Over three million people in the United States have this eye disease that robs people of their eyesight. The National Eye Institute estimates that this number will increase to 4.2 million by the year 2030.
What is Glaucoma?
Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases which causes gradual vision loss over time. It primarily affects people over the age of 60.
Vision lost occurs due to irreversible damage to the optic nerve, which carries information about vision to the brain. The optic nerve is damaged from fluid pressure in the eye. However, there are instances where damage can occur when the fluid pressure is normal.
Primary Open Angle Glaucoma is the most common form of the disease and causes the pressure of fluid in the eye to rise slowly over time. The gradual loss of vision is what makes Glaucoma so dangerous as people don’t notice anything wrong until it’s too late.
Symptoms of Glaucoma
The two most common forms of this disease are “open angle” and “acute” glaucoma. In open angle, vision loss occurs without pain or symptoms. Most people don’t realize something is wrong until it’s too late. Your peripheral vision is usually affected first. If treatment is not rendered, it will degrade into complete blindness.
Acute glaucoma can occur suddenly, which causes blurred vision, pain, and redness in the eye. Other symptoms can include haziness in the cornea, perceived halos around lights at night, extreme weakness, nausea and vomiting.
Importance of Regular Eye Exams for Glaucoma
There are often no symptoms of glaucoma. The greatest prevention method is to get comprehensive eye exams on a regular basis, especially for older patients.
Aside from regular eye exams, there are several other things you can do to help slow the onset of glaucoma. Regular exercise, such as jogging or walking can help reduce the intraocular pressure in the eye. Wearing protective eyewear when playing sports or working around the garage can also help. A form of glaucoma can occur from certain physical eye injuries.
Currently, there is no cure for glaucoma. Eye drops or laser surgeries can manage glaucoma. In more severe cases, glaucoma surgery can be performed to lower internal pressure.
Seattle Glaucoma Eye Doctors at Clearview Eye & Laser
At Clearview Eye & Laser, our experienced Seattle eye doctors can detect and appropriate treat glaucoma, based on your unique needs. Our highly trained eye doctors can help prevent you from losing your vision from this silent disease. Give our Seattle or Burien vision center a call to learn more about glaucoma or schedule an appointment.