What is Glaucoma?
Glaucoma is a multifactorial disease process with many different sub-categories. In the simplest sense, glaucoma is an eye disease in which the fluid pressure within the eye is elevated. This elevated pressure (referred to as intraocular pressure or IOP) can cause damage to the optic nerve. If glaucoma is left untreated vision loss or even blindness may occur. Glaucoma is often “silent” meaning early to moderate glaucoma is usually imperceptible and not noticeable. It is up to eye doctors to diagnose and treat glaucoma before it has a chance to affect vision. Glaucoma can only be accurately diagnosed by a thorough eye exam and regular follow up. Don’t neglect your vision, call us today!
What are the risk factors for developing glaucoma?
The risk of developing glaucoma increases with age. There are a few risk factors for developing glaucoma that are independent of age: family history of glaucoma, African-Amercian race, high blood pressure (hypertension), diabetes.
I have a family member with glaucoma, should I be worried about going blind?
While it is true that having a first-degree relative with glaucoma does increase your chance of developing glaucoma, it does not guarantee that you will develop glaucoma. There are certain genes that increase chances of developing glaucoma. These genes can sometimes be passed down (or inherited) in families. But having an affected family member, or sometimes, even inheriting a glaucoma gene, does not mean you will develop glaucoma. If you have family members who have glaucoma it is very important to get an annual dilated eye exam to check for glaucoma. This must be done every year to ensure the best chance of early diagnosis and treatment if you should develop glaucoma.
Can glaucoma be prevented?
No, but early detection and treatment can control glaucoma and reduce the chances of damage to the eye and a loss of sight. The earlier glaucoma is diagnosed and treated, the better chance of preserving vision. It is very important to get an annual dilated eye exam to check for glaucoma.