Getting Regular Eye Exams Is the Key to Preventing Sight Loss from Glaucoma
Glaucoma can progress without symptoms until it's too late for treatment. Seeing your optometrist at least once a year for an eye exam is essential for early detection and treatment that may save your sight. Here are some answers to frequently asked questions about glaucoma from your optometrist at Urban Eyecare & Eyewear in Des Moines.
What is glaucoma?
Glaucoma is a group of conditions that damage the optic nerve that carries visual information from your eyes to your brain. Glaucoma usually involves elevated intraocular pressure, also known as IOP.
What causes glaucoma?
Scientists still don't understand the fundamental cause of glaucoma, but they do understand the mechanism through which damage to the optic nerve takes place. The basic process is that there is some kind of blockage in the passages that allow fluid in your eye to drain. The fluid in your eye builds up, increasing pressure on the optic nerve. The structures of the optic nerve are fragile and can be irreparably damaged, resulting in sight loss.
Who gets glaucoma?
A little less than 1 percent of the American population are diagnosed with glaucoma at some point in their lives. The disease is most common in people over 40, but it can occur at any point in life. People who are diabetic and/or nearsighted are more likely to get glaucoma, as are African-Americans. The rate of sight loss from glaucoma in African-Americans between the ages of 44 and 65 is 15 times higher than for other groups.
People with a history of heart attack or congestive heart failure are at greater risk of developing low-pressure glaucoma.
Are there any symptoms of glaucoma?
The kinds of symptoms you get depend on the kind of glaucoma you may have. If you have primary or closed-angle glaucoma, your first symptom after sudden, severe eye pain may be blindness. If you have secondary or open-angle glaucoma, you may develop blurry vision. You may see rings or halos around bright lights. Your eyes may get red easily and you may suffer eye strain.
If you think you may have glaucoma, make an appointment for your eye exam today!
Anytime you think you may have glaucoma symptoms, come in to see us. Be sure to get an eye exam at least once a year no matter what your age. Request an appointment online or call us at (515) 223-1000. The offices of Urban Eyecare are located at 160 S 68th St Suite 1107, West Des Moines, IA 50266.