What is Glaucoma?
Glaucoma is a condition in which a build-up of pressure inside the eye, referred to as “intraocular pressure,” causes damage to the optic nerve, which transmits images to the brain. Prolonged damage to the optic nerve from high eye pressure can lead to irreversible vision loss or blindness.
Today in the US, primary open-angle glaucoma (the most common type) affects an estimated 2.2 million people. An aging population will raise that number by more than a million by 2020
There are two main types of Glaucoma:
Open-angle, or Wide-angle Glaucoma is the most common. The structures of the eye appear normal, but the flow of fluid in the eye is prevented from escaping properly through the drain of the eye.
Angle-closure glaucoma is less common but can occur more suddenly. Drainage may be poor because the angle between the iris and the cornea, a drainage channel for the eye, is too narrow.
Most types of glaucoma cause no pain and do not produce any noticeable symptoms until vision loss occurs. Hispanics and African-Americans are disproportionally affected by up to three times compared to non-Hispanic whites. It can affect people of all ages, but it occurs more commonly in older people. If you are over the age of forty and have a family history of glaucoma, you should get regular, complete eye exams every one to two years.
Who else is at risk?
- People in older age groups
- Steroid inhaler users
- People suffering from hypertension
- Nearsighted people
- People who have suffered an eye injury.
If you fall into any of these categories, Nationwide Vision can assess your risk and help you control or prevent the problem before major vision problems occur.
Surgery or medication may be necessary depending on the severity of the condition. Medicated eye drops aimed at lowering pressure inside the eye are usually the first option. Glaucoma is often painless, which can cause patients to become careless about using the medicated eye drops, which control eye pressure and help prevent permanent eye damage.
Non-compliance with a program of prescribed glaucoma medication is a major reason for blindness caused by glaucoma. Consult your eye doctor before discontinuing use of medicated eye drops for glaucoma.
Get up and move! According to a UK study, higher levels of physical exercise appear to provide a long-term reduced risk of the incidence of low ocular perfusion pressure (OPP), an important risk factor for glaucoma. Study participants who engaged in moderate physical exercise approximately 15 years prior to the study had a 25 percent reduced risk of low OPP that could lead to glaucoma. Not surprisingly, studies have also shown a definite association between glaucoma and a sedentary lifestyle.
Contact Nationwide Vision to schedule an eye exam today. Schedule here on our website, or give us a call at 1-800-222-4218.