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Glaucoma: What it is and Who is At Risk

GlaucomaGlaucoma is the result of a buildup of pressure due to an abnormal flow of fluid
in the eye. When the pressure rises inside the eye, it could result in
damage to optic nerves. If the pressure is not regulated, loss of vision
or permanent blindness may occur. There is no treatment to restore vision
that is lost due to
glaucoma, so prevention and treatment of the condition are crucial to avoid vision loss.

There are two types of glaucoma: open-angle glaucoma and angle-closure glaucoma.

Open-angle glaucoma

Open-angle glaucoma is the most common type of glaucoma, affecting an estimated
four million Americans. Many of these individuals are unaware they have
the disease because vision loss begins with peripheral vision and occurs
gradually over many years. In this form of glaucoma, the eye’s drainage
canals become clogged, causing a buildup of pressure, which then results
in damage to the optic nerve. There are typically no warning signs of
the disease until significant vision loss has occurred.

Angle-closure glaucoma

Unlike open-angle glaucoma, in which the angle of the eye where the iris
meets the cornea stays open, with angle-closure glaucoma, the angle of
the eye may be narrowed or closed. It is the result of blocked drainage
canals in the eye, which causes a sudden buildup of pressure in the eye.
Angle-closure glaucoma is a rare form of glaucoma and develops quickly.
Because it develops quickly, symptoms are noticeable. Immediate treatment
should be sought as damage to the eye also occurs very quickly.

Who is at risk?

There are many factors that may increase your risk of developing glaucoma,
these factors include:

  • Family history of glaucoma
  • History of serious eye injury
  • Adults over 50
  • African-American or Latino adults over 40
  • Taking steroid medications
  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Myopia (nearsightedness)
  • Heart disease

Glaucoma is a serious disease and should not be taken lightly. Because
there may be no clear warning signs of glaucoma, it is critical that you
maintain regular eye exams. During a comprehensive eye exam, your doctor
will test for glaucoma. If the disease is detected, your eye doctor will
prescribe preventative treatment such as medicated eye drops to help reduce
pressure in the eye and avoid permanent vision loss.

Contact Key-Whitman today to
schedule a comprehensive eye exam to test your eyes for signs of glaucoma.

Posted in: Glaucoma

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