How Glaucoma Can Develop Without You Knowing It

How Glaucoma Can Develop Without You Knowing It

When was your last eye exam? You may think your eyes are healthy since you don’t have any eye symptoms that bother you. That’s not always the case. Glaucoma is an eye disease that often has no symptoms until an advanced stage, and your vision gets compromised. 

Because open-angle glaucoma, the most common type, develops slowly over a number of years, you don’t realize your vision is changing. Your ability to see clearly isn’t affected until the disease has progressed to a late stage. Your peripheral vision is affected first, followed by loss of central vision. 

Doctors can’t restore vision lost to glaucoma. That’s why it’s so important to catch the disease in its early stages. 

Our board-certified ophthalmologists at Long Island Ophthalmic Concepts perform tests for glaucoma when you have an eye exam. They can detect glaucoma in its earliest stages and start appropriate treatment to halt its advance. Glaucoma is a progressive disease, so if left untreated, it leads to vision loss. After cataracts, glaucoma is the second most frequent cause of blindness worldwide. 

How does glaucoma develop without any symptoms? 

Your eyes contain a fluid that keeps them healthy. The fluid moves to the front of your eye and through your pupil, the dark center of your eye. It drains through passageways between your iris, the colored part of your eye, and your cornea, the protective coating that covers your iris and pupil. 

When you have glaucoma, the drainage canals don’t function as they should. The fluid can’t drain from your eye. The excess fluid creates pressure in your eye. The elevated pressure eventually damages your optic nerve, which controls your ability to see.  

Am I at risk for glaucoma? 

Researchers aren’t sure why some eyes don’t drain properly. They have identified risk factors for the disease. If you’re in any of the following groups, it’s essential for you to keep appointments for regular eye exams. Your ophthalmologist tells you how often you should get an exam. 

Race 

African Americans are the ethnic group most at risk of glaucoma, although it can occur in anyone. Black individuals are five times more likely to develop glaucoma than individuals of other races. You’re even more at risk if you’re nearsighted, have high blood pressure, or diabetes. 

Age 

Older individuals are more likely to develop glaucoma. Those over 60 are more at risk than younger people. 

Genetics 

If a close family member has glaucoma, you’re more likely to get it — especially as a sibling. Siblings have a ten times higher risk for glaucoma than people whose siblings don’t have the disease.

Thin corneas

Sometimes the cornea can thin due to inflammation, age, or genetics. Often the treatment is as simple as glasses or contact lenses. 

High eye pressure 

High blood pressure increases pressure in your eye. If you have diabetes, hypertension, or heart disease, we should check your eyes regularly. 

Treatments for glaucoma 

Your ophthalmologist develops a treatment plan for your glaucoma. You may need to take nutritional supplements and put special eye drops in your eyes everyday. Oral medication, laser surgery, and microsurgery are options if necessary. 

Call Long Island Ophthalmic Concepts or book online today for an appointment at our Bellmore or Great Neck, New York office. We’re your partner in your eye health.  

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