Did you know that Glaucoma is the second-leading cause of vision loss and blindness? There are more than 3 million people affected by the disease in the U.S. today, and that number is expected to reach 4.2 million by 2030.
Glaucoma affects the nerves in the eye and can develop quickly. If not treated properly or promptly, the disease can result in vision loss. For those at risk of developing glaucoma, the American Optometric Association recommends an annual comprehensive eye exam.
Below are some common questions about the eye condition:
What are the main types?
- Open-angle glaucoma is an imbalance in the production and drainage of the clear fluid that fills the eye between the cornea and iris. The fluid imbalance leads to pressure inside the eye that pushes against the optic nerve, depriving oxygen and nutrients and eventually causing irreversible damage.
- Angle-closure glaucoma is caused by a blocked drainage canal, resulting in a sudden rise in eye pressure that can develop very quickly. The symptoms and damage of this type may be more noticeable.
Can the disease be prevented?
While there are no known ways to prevent glaucoma, getting regular, comprehensive eye exams and consulting with your eye doctor if you notice any changes in your vision, can help identify the early warning signs of the eye condition. A healthy lifestyle that includes regular exercise and a nutritious diet is also recommended to help lower your risk.
Can it be treated?
Glaucoma can be treated with medication or surgery to slow or prevent further vision loss. However, vision already lost to the disease cannot be restored.
What are the risks factors and warning signs?
- Age: People over the age of 60 and African Americans over the age of 40
- Race: African Americans, people of Asian descent and Native Alaskans
- Family history of glaucoma
- Medical conditions: Diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease
- Physical injuries to the eye
- Hazy or blurred vision
- The appearance of rainbow-colored circles around bright lights
- Severe eye and head pain
- Nausea or vomiting (accompanying severe eye pain)
- Sudden sight loss
Schedule an annual comprehensive eye exam if you’re concerned you might be at risk for Glaucoma. Find a VSP network eye doctor near you.