An estimated 3 million Americans are suffering from glaucoma — but only half of them actually know that they have it. According to the National Eye Institute, glaucoma is the second leading cause of vision loss, but this can usually be prevented with early diagnosis and treatment.
How Does Glaucoma Develop?
Glaucoma is an eye condition that typically occurs due to a pressure buildup within the eye.
The eyeball contains aqueous humor, a fluid consistently produced by the eye. Glaucoma will develop if the eye cannot properly drain the fluid, leading to pressure buildup or intraocular pressure. This will gradually damage your optic nerve, which is responsible for connecting your eye to your brain and your retina’s nerve fibers.
Glaucoma usually affects both eyes albeit in different degrees. Optometrists at Complete Eye Care say that one eye can develop glaucoma faster than the other eye.
Symptoms of Glaucoma
Glaucoma is known as a silent sight thief since most types don’t exhibit symptoms and pain until obvious vision loss happens. Because of this, there is a big chance that the optic nerve may be permanently damaged, with permanent blindness in both eyes.
With acute angle-closure glaucoma, however, you can notice symptoms, such as blurred vision, eye pain, halos surrounding lights, vomiting, and nausea. When you experience these symptoms, have your eyes checked by an optometrist or go to the emergency room as soon as possible to prevent any further damage to your eyes.
Prevention and Treatment of Glaucoma
It is crucial to note that glaucoma can develop unnoticed so you won’t normally detect symptoms right away. To prevent it, you must visit your optometrist regularly. Make visits more often if you’re 50 years old and above to make sure that any problem will be detected early on, and that you can begin proper treatment right away.
Glaucoma may be treated with special eye drops and surgery. It is important to note that early diagnosis is extremely critical, since eye damage from glaucoma is unfortunately irreversible. Treatment can only control and minimize potential damage as the disease progresses. So as they say, prevention is better than cure.