Glaucoma is a complex eye disease that causes vision loss and even blindness, especially when left untreated. It can affect one or both eyes. The second leading cause of preventable blindness in the world according to the World Health Organization and a leading cause of preventable blindness in the US, it affects over 2 million people with that number expected to nearly double by 2030. A silent thief of vision, Glaucoma has no early warnings and few people who have it even realize it. The only way to diagnose Glaucoma early is to have regular dilated eye examinations, at least yearly after the age of 40.
Vision loss in Glaucoma is insidious, and starts with subtle loss of side vision. There are no early warning signs usually. In fact, the National Eye Institute estimates at least half of the patients that have Glaucoma do not even know it! Although it is a complex disease with many factors involved, it is thought that the Intra-Ocular pressure is an important piece of the puzzle, and that rising eye pressure can cause damage to the optic nerve, the cable that sends the message of vision on up to the brain. A regular eye examination should include measuring the intra-ocular pressure of the eye and a dilated retinal and optic nerve examination. If the doctor’s suspicion during the examination is arisen, further testing may be recommended to assess your optic nerve head with state-of-the-art imaging as well as your field of vision to asses for subtle loss.
Early detection and management is key to minimizing vision loss and even blindness. Managing the disease may be as simple as keeping an eye for progression to medicated eye drops and medicine to surgery. Vision loss is irreversible in Glaucoma.
The world is definitely worth seeing well – have your eyes checked at least yearly! Call 713-552-9400 for more information or appointment.
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