Curtis R. Anderson, O.D., is an expert optometrist serving the Lawrence, KS, area, and our offices provide management of glaucoma and other age-related eye diseases. Glaucoma is a relatively common condition that affects millions of adults, and it could potentially cause blindness if not managed early. Understandably, many questions can arise about glaucoma. Some of the most important ones are answered here.
What Is Glaucoma?
Glaucoma is an eye disease that affects the optic nerve. It can slowly progress over time, leading to irreversible vision loss. Damage to the nerves is usually a result of increased pressure in the eyes.
How Does Glaucoma Happen?
Increased pressure in the eyes is usually caused by abnormal drainage in the eyes. This situation can cause the pressure in the eyes to rise, putting you at risk for glaucoma. However, there isn't one pinpointed reason why glaucoma occurs, and even people with normal eye pressure can still receive a glaucoma diagnosis.
Who Is at Risk for Glaucoma?
Glaucoma can affect anyone, but some portions of the population have an elevated risk:
- Those over age 60
- African Americans and Hispanics
- Those with a previous eye injury
- People with other health concerns, such as hypertension, diabetes, or high blood pressure
What Are the Symptoms of Glaucoma?
Glaucoma has two primary forms: open-angle and angle-closure. Open-angle glaucoma is more common, making up about 90 percent of all cases. It forms over time and has barely noticeable symptoms. Angle-closure glaucoma is less common, but symptoms can be more severe. Symptoms can include intense eye pain, headaches, nausea, vomiting, and more. This situation can be considered a medical emergency.
How Is Glaucoma Diagnosed and Treated?
A dilated eye exam is needed to examine the internal structures of the eyes. A tool called a tonometer is also used to measure the pressure of the eyes. Treatment for glaucoma differs for each person, but it can involve medication, prescription eye drops, and laser surgery.
Can I Reduce My Risk for Glaucoma?
Glaucoma can't be prevented altogether, but you can take steps to make yourself less susceptible to the disease. These lifestyle choices include being active, avoiding smoking, and eating a well-balanced diet. One of the best things you can do is make sure to have an annual exam with an optometrist. Unfortunately, more than half of people who have glaucoma aren't aware of it.
Get an Eye Exam from Our Lawrence Optometrist
Preserving vision as we get older is of the utmost importance. Detecting glaucoma early enough can help you avoid vision loss and live an everyday life. Call the office of Curtis R. Anderson, O.D., today at (785) 843-8200 to support and protect your eye health.