Glaucoma is a serious eye disease that can cause blindness if it advances. The American Academy of Ophthalmology tells us that this condition is the leading cause of blindness in adults over the age of 60. Prompt and ongoing treatment is vital to managing the effects of glaucoma and preserving eyesight. This can only be achieved through accurate information.
Here, we separate fact from fiction.
Symptoms of Glaucoma are noticed right away.
According to the National Eye Institute, people with glaucoma may not notice the signs of the disease until later stages of development. There are few, if any, early warning signs that indicate that vision is at risk. However, a thorough eye exam can identify clues suggesting that care is needed.
Glaucoma only affects older adults.
Although glaucoma tends to be much more prevalent among older adults, this does not mean that a younger person cannot develop this eye disease. Instances of glaucoma have even been diagnosed in children. Routine eye exams are recommended for children as young as two or three onward. These exams help track the development of vision and overall health of all ocular structures.
Glaucoma is characterized by increased eye pressure.
This belief about glaucoma is a fact. It is the increase in eye pressure that is concerning because pressure can damage the optic nerve a little at a time. Damage to the optic nerve cannot be undone, so vision loss that relates to this damage will be permanent. While people with glaucoma typically have increased ocular pressure readings, it is possible for this disease to occur without that characteristic if a person is exceptionally sensitive to normal pressure within the eye or has circulation problems in the eye.
Glaucoma can affect anyone.
Glaucoma can affect anyone. However, this disease has been associated with certain risk factors. It is important to know what your risk factors are so you and your ophthalmologist can develop a plan to preserve your eye health and vision. Risk factors for glaucoma include a family history of this disease and being of Hispanic or African American descent. Risk factors cannot be decreased but may be offset to some degree with lifestyle habits such as exercising regularly and always wearing protective eyeglasses when participating in certain activities.
One of the most important things anyone can do to protect their long-term vision is to see their eye doctor on a yearly basis. To schedule your comprehensive eye exam at our Winchester, VA office, call 540.722.6200.