10 Things You Should Know About Glaucoma
By Angela Coen
Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of blindness in the United States. It is a disease that is especially problematic since it can progress without any signs or symptoms until much damage has already been done. Here are some important facts that everyone should know about this disease.
1. Glaucoma is a collection of diseases that cause optic nerve damage which will produce some loss of vision and eventually complete blindness. (1)
2. There are two main types of glaucoma.
A.) Open-angle glaucoma: This is the most common type which is caused by fluid build up in the eye because of the inability of the fluid to drain properly. This excess of fluid causes increased eye pressure which eventually causes optic nerve damage. (4)
B.) Closed-angle glaucoma: This is when the iris and lens block fluid movement between the chambers of the eye and fluid pressure builds up which causes damage that usually results in the need for immediate medical attention. (1)
3. The more prevalent type of glaucoma, open-angle glaucoma, has almost no warning signs or symptoms. Most people do not know they have this type of glaucoma until their vision is already fading. (1)
4. Some of the symptoms that do occur for open-angle glaucoma after the disease has already progressed include loss of side vision and eventually tunnel vision. Symptoms for closed-angle glaucoma include severe eye pain, blurred vision, halos around light, and reddening of the eye. (2)
5. People who have a higher risk of acquiring glaucoma are people who are over 40, have a family history of glaucoma, are African American, have diabetes, or people who already have naturally high eye pressure. (1)
6. The best way to protect your vision is to get regular eye exams that include testing for glaucoma, because damage already done can not be reversed and treatments can only slow the progression of the disease. (1)
7. If you are diagnosed with glaucoma treatments are normally always aimed at reducing the pressure in your eye. Some of the treatments include eye drops, oral medications, and for people who have more severe cases surgery. (2)
8. If glaucoma is left untreated it will lead to peripheral vision loss then tunnel vision and eventually complete blindness. (2)
9. Over two million people in the United States have open-angle glaucoma and that number is expected to rise to three million by 2020. (3)
10. Glaucoma is not a disease that can be treated in just one visit to the doctors’ office, if diagnosed regular eye exams and treatments will have to become a regular part of a person’s life to protect any further vision damage from occurring. (2)
1. “Glaucoma.” WebMD. 23 May 2003. Web. 15 Mar. 2011. Glaucoma 2011.
2. Mayo Clinic Staff. “Glaucoma.” Mayo Clinic. 17 Jul. 2010. Web. 15 Mar.
3. “Prevalence of Open-Angle Glaucoma Among Adults in the United States.” National Eye Institute. Apr. 2004. Web. 15 Mar. 2011.
4. “Glaucoma.” University of Rochester Medical Center. 2009. Web. 15 Mar. 2011. http://www.urmc.rochester.edu/encyclopedia/content.cfm?pageid=P00504