Glaucoma is an eye condition that can affect anyone. There are certain groups of people that may be at a higher risk of glaucoma than others, but symptoms of this condition can appear at any age. While there is some consensus that a family history of glaucoma may increase your risk, there is still ongoing research being conducted to understand the role that genetic factors play in glaucoma development.
Glaucoma typically does not occur with early symptoms, which is one reason why getting regular eye exams is so important. When glaucoma is diagnosed early, treatment can be done at the first stage or sign.
At times, the health of your eyes can change quickly. If you notice any changes in your vision, you should let your optometrist know as soon as possible so that it can be monitored. With the potential for developing various types of glaucoma, it is always important to understand your eye health.
What Causes Glaucoma?
The exact causes of glaucoma are not fully understood, but it’s often related to an increase in pressure inside the eye, which can cause damage to the optic nerve.
While some people in your family may have glaucoma, that does not necessarily mean you will get it too. Glaucoma often affects people over the age of 60, but there are some cases in which this condition comes on suddenly. For example, a traumatic eye injury may cause glaucoma.
What Are Some of the Signs of Glaucoma?
Glaucoma can impact your vision by damaging your optic nerve. There are severe cases of glaucoma that can lead to blindness. In fact, the second leading cause of blindness worldwide is glaucoma.
Some people may notice changes in their vision slowly. When these changes are so slow to happen, they can sometimes be overlooked. It is important to take note of any changes in your visual health because they may lead to blindness if they’re not addressed early.
There are several types of glaucoma, with open-angle glaucoma being the most common form. Each different type of glaucoma may have slight variations in symptoms and signs which need to be watched for.
Some of the symptoms that can be linked to different types of glaucoma are:
- Vision loss
- Colored rings or halos around lights
- Eye redness
- Blurred vision
Should you experience a sudden emergence of any of the symptoms listed above, you should see an optometrist. Your optometrist will be able to assess your symptoms and help form a treatment plan.
Can Glaucoma Be Prevented?
Glaucoma progression can be slowed and treated, but it can also come on suddenly. Depending on the type of glaucoma you may have, you may not notice anything until vision loss occurs. It’s important to take note of any changes in your eye health or vision so that your doctor can help prevent vision loss.
Glaucoma is a progressive disease. Over time, this condition can worsen as the damage increases, and the signs of this damage will become more apparent. While there are treatments available that can help to slow down the progression of glaucoma when caught in the early stages, there is often nothing that can be done to reverse vision loss caused by glaucoma or cure it permanently.
Regular checkups with your optometrist can help determine if you are at greater risk for glaucoma. This will give you the opportunity to begin treatment at the first sign of changes in an effort to prevent blindness.
Options for Treating Glaucoma
There are several different treatments for slowing down glaucoma. Some of these treatments are more invasive than others, but the suitability of each option will vary based on the type of glaucoma you are experiencing and the stage of its progression.
Some glaucoma treatments include:
- Medication: The medication used for glaucoma is often eye drops. Over time, your body may build up resistance to these drops, and your prescription may need to change for the drops to remain effective.
- Selective laser trabeculoplasty (SLT): This is a process that uses low levels of laser light to help improve the drainage of fluid inside your eye and reduce pressure.
- Incisional surgery: This is a procedure performed by making an incision in the eye. If other forms of treatments are ineffective, this course of action may be recommended by your doctor.
Learn More about Prevention Today
Taking care of your health today can preserve your vision for tomorrow. If you believe you may be experiencing or noticing signs of glaucoma, speak with one of our optometrists.
Our optometrists at Total Vision Tierrasanta are equipped to assess glaucoma, find the appropriate treatment, and educate you on how to care for your vision. Take your first step in preventing vision loss by booking an appointment today.