Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases that cause progressive damage of the optic nerve.
If left untreated, most types of glaucoma gradually worsen visual damage and lead to blindness. Once incurred, visual damage is irreversible. Glaucoma is the second most common cause of blindness worldwide and it is on the rise. Unfortunately, the disease progresses slowly and is often undetected until the damage is done.
There are several types of glaucoma, however, the two most common are primary open angle glaucoma (POAG), having a slow and insidious onset, and angle closure glaucoma (ACG), which is less common and tends to be more acute
Glaucoma appears after age 40 usually and its frequency increases with age. Men and women appear to be equally affected by the disease.
How Can I Prevent Glaucoma?
Early detection and careful treatment can help maintain your vision. Regular eye exams are the best way to identify if glaucoma is present.
While there are no known ways of preventing glaucoma, blindness or significant vision loss from glaucoma can be prevented if the disease is recognized in the early stages. With glaucoma, vision loss is silent, slow, and progressive. It typically affects peripheral vision first and progresses to affect central vision. THERE ARE NO SYMPTOMS of glaucoma in its early stages.
Glaucoma is very treatable and vision loss from glaucoma is preventable but you need to know that you have it. Primary and first line treatment now often consists of laser. We can also use eyedrops or surgery and many new upcoming treatment options will allow us to prevent vision loss. Glaucoma often is associated with diabetes. Diabetes particularly with its incidence on the rise is likely the most common lifestyle disease where patients can control their risk of vision loss and can make lifestyle changes to control diabetes.
Eye injuries can result in traumatic glaucoma or secondary glaucoma, so protecting your eyes from injury is another way to prevent glaucoma.
If you’re at risk of developing glaucoma, medical experts recommend a healthy lifestyle that includes regular exercise and a nutritious diet to improve your overall physical and mental well-being. Taking care of your mental and emotional health is also important. You can take action today by quitting smoking, going for a long walk, and wearing sunglasses. Then make an appointment to see your optometrist for an eye exam.