Do you find it challenging to use your peripheral vision in both eyes? Does your family have a history of glaucoma in it?

These are some of the signs and risk factors of glaucoma. Glaucoma Awareness Month is in January.

The goal of this month is to bring awareness to the signs, symptoms and risk factors associated with glaucoma. Let’s learn what they are.

Why Is Glaucoma Dangerous?

The reason that glaucoma is so damaging is that it hurts your optic nerve. To see clearly, you need to have a healthy optic nerve.

Damage to the optic nerve occurs because glaucoma increases pressure in your eye. For adults 60 and up, glaucoma is one of the main reasons adults go blind.

It is possible for anyone to get glaucoma, but it is more common in older adults.

Glaucoma is the secret theft of sight because it doesn’t come with warning signs or symptoms. Most do not notice any issues with their vision until glaucoma has already occurred.

Damage from glaucoma cannot be reversed, so once it starts, it does not stop. Eye exams are important because this is when your doctor has the opportunity to check your eyes.

One of the things they will examine is your eye pressure. They continue to check it, so they can figure out what your healthy eyes are like.

If something changes, they will notice. The key to preventing or halting vision loss is getting an early diagnosis of glaucoma and starting treatment early. Adults 65 and up, even with healthy eyes and good vision, need to have annual eye exams.

Risk Factors

There are many reasons why people can develop glaucoma. Some of the risk factors are that you are 60 or older or have higher than normal interior eye pressure.

Glaucoma also has genetic and hereditary components. You are more likely to develop glaucoma:

  • If you have a family history of it
  • If you are Hispanic, Asian or African American
  • If you are extremely nearsighted or farsighted
  • If you have high blood pressure, sickle cell anemia, heart disease, or diabetes
  • If the central part of your corneas are too thin
  • If you’ve used corticosteroid medication for a long time
  • If you get an eye injury or have certain types of eye surgery

If you have any of these risk factors, you might want to get eye exams more than once a year. Most adults do not go to the eye doctor once a year when they are under the age of 65.

If you know that glaucoma is in your family’s medical history, you should tell your eye doctor.

Symptoms

The symptoms associated with glaucoma differ because there are different types and stages.

Acute angle-closure Glaucoma:
Acute angle-closure glaucoma causes headaches, eye pain, nausea, vomiting, cloudy vision, redness and halos around lights.

Open-angle Glaucoma:
This form of glaucoma happens in both eyes and can cause tunnel vision and blind spots in your peripheral or central vision.

If you start having any of these symptoms, you need to contact your doctor immediately. Remember, glaucoma can cause blindness if left untreated.

Concerned about glaucoma or your ocular health? Schedule an eye exam at Riverside Eye Center in Auburn, ME!

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