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Glaucoma: Frequently Asked Questions

Glaucoma is an eye condition that is characterized by a buildup of pressure due
to an abnormal flow of fluid in the eye. People who have a family history
of the disease, high blood pressure or high blood sugar may be at higher
risk of developing glaucoma. As with any disease or medical condition,
adjusting to life with glaucoma can be a challenging. However, glaucoma
does not have to take over your life.

As with any medical diagnosis, being diagnosed with glaucoma may leave
you with several questions. Below are some of the most commonly asked
questions about glaucoma:

How is glaucoma detected? Simple tests to measure eye pressure and a microscopic inspection will
usually alert your doctor of any problems that may suggest glaucoma. If
glaucoma is suspected, a nerve fiber analyzer may be used to determine
if there is any damage to the optic nerve as well as a visual field test
to measure the amount of peripheral vision loss.

Could my glaucoma have been prevented? There is no prevention for glaucoma, but progression of the disease can
be slowed down with early detection and treatment. During routine eye
exams, your doctor may perform a variety of tests on your eyes, which
may indicate the onset of glaucoma. It is important that your eye doctor
is aware of any family history of glaucoma.

What are the risk factors associated with glaucoma? There are many factors that may increase your risk of developing glaucoma,
these factors include:

o Family history of glaucoma

o History of serious eye injury

o Adults over 50

o African-American adults over 40

o Taking steroid medications

o Diabetes

o High blood pressure

o Myopia (nearsightedness)

Will I go blind if I have glaucoma? If you follow your doctor’s treatment plan, including taking any
prescribed medications, chances are good that you will not suffer complete
vision loss. Treatment can slow the progression of the disease and damage
to the optic nerve caused by pressure buildup in the eye.

Can damage from glaucoma be reversed? Damage to your eyes from glaucoma cannot be reversed. Once your vision
is lost, you cannot get it back. Again, this is why early detection through
routine eye exams is essential.

How is glaucoma treated? There are a number of effective treatments for glaucoma that can slow the
progression and damage to the optic nerve. These treatments include prescription
medications or eye drops. In some cases, Laser Trabeculoplasty may be
necessary to open drainage holes in the eye allowing the fluid to flow
more freely to reduce the high pressure and may eliminate the need for
daily eye drops.

Can I still wear contact lenses if I have glaucoma? This is dependent on your treatment plan. Some prescription eye drops may
keep you from being able to wear contact lenses.

Although there is no prevention for glaucoma, early detection and treatment
can decrease pressure in the eye, slowing progression of damage to the
optic nerve. Maintain regular comprehensive eye exams with your eye doctor.
Contact us to schedule a comprehensive eye exam at Key-Whitman Eye Center.

Posted in: Glaucoma

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