What is Glaucoma?
Glaucoma is the name given to a group of eye conditions where the optic nerve is damaged at the point where it leaves the eye. The optic nerve carries images from the retina, the light sensitive membrane attached to the inner surface of the eye, to the brain.
There are four main types:
- Chronic glaucoma (slow onset)
- Acute glaucoma (sudden onset)
- Secondary glaucoma (caused by another eye condition)
- Congenital or developmental glaucoma (a condition in babies caused by malformation of the eye)
What Are the Symptoms?
Chronic glaucoma often has no symptoms and the eye may seem normal. This isn’t painful and at first your vision may be unaffected. However, without treatment, people with this disease will gradually lose their peripheral (side) vision. Untreated, this disease will cause you to begin to lose the vision out of the corner of your eye as if you were looking through a tunnel all the time. If still left untreated, gradually, patients will also lose their central vision until no vision remains. There is no cure for this disease so you want to do all you can early to prevent the irreversible effects.
Regular eye tests are important. Chronic glaucoma affects one percent of people over 40 and five percent of people over 65. The risk of this disease increases with age and if left untreated it can cause blindness. Immediate treatment for early-stage, open-angle glaucoma has been found effective for slowing the progress of the disease. Early diagnosis is key. Common treatments are:
- laser trabeculoplasty
- conventional surgery
What Can I Expect?
Although damage caused by glaucoma cannot be repaired, with early diagnosis, regular observation, and treatment, this can usually be kept to a minimum. If you do experience some sight loss your Optometrist will be able to advise you on low vision aids and your Ophthalmologist will advise whether you are eligible to register as sight impaired. The eye test is important for the detection of many eye diseases. If you are over 40 and have a family history of this disease, you should have an eye test every 12 months.
Self-Care Strategies for Prevention
The Glaucoma Research Foundation affirms that the best way to prevent Glaucoma is through regular eye care. Comprehensive eye exams can help detect the disease in its earliest stages allowing you to get ahead of the irreversible damage the disease causes. The Mayo Clinic offers the following prevention strategies:
- Get regular eye care.
- Know your family’s eye health history. This disease has been shown to have a hereditary component.
- Exercise regularly and safely.
- Take prescribed eye drops.
- Wear eye protection.
Call for a Consultation
The National Eye Institute recommends that an eye care professional who has examined your eyes and is familiar with your medical history is the best person to answer specific questions about your symptoms. Located at two convenient Denver locations–King Soopers Shopping Center off of South Monaco Parkway in Denver and at the Brentwood Shopping Center on Federal Boulevard–Optical Masters can offer you top-rate eye care services and help you with your eye health goals.