Glaucoma is an eye disease that affects over 3 million Americans, but only 50% of those know they have it. It’s characterized by increased pressure within the eye. It’s also responsible for ~10% of blindness cases in the U.S.
How do I know if I have Glaucoma?
There are several factors that increase your risk, detailed below. One of the reasons is nicknamed the “thief of sight” is because it presents no symptoms until it’s too late, and vision loss is significant. All in all, the only way to truly know if you are at risk is by having a dilated eye exam every year.
What are the different types of Glaucoma?
There are several different forms, below are just a few.
- Primary open-angle:
- The most commonly diagnosed. It’s caused by the slow clogging of the drainage canals, is a lifelong condition, and presents no symptoms during the progression of the disease.
- Further, people at risk are typically:
- Over age 40
- African Americans, or those of Latino or Asian descent
- Chronic or primary angle-closure:
- Less commonly diagnosed. This form is caused by blocked drainage canals, and has symptoms and damage that are usually very noticeable.
- Those at higher risk are:
- People of Asian descent
- Farsighted people (can see far away and not up close)
- Rarely diagnosed, but occurs when pigment granules from the back of the iris (the colored part of the eye), flake off and partially block the drainage canals of the eye. It also presents no symptoms during the diseases progression.
- Unlike the two types above, this form can happen to people of all ages.
- It’s more common in:
- People under 40
- People of Caucasian origin
- People that are nearsighted (can see up close and not far away)
- It also can be made worse by exercise
What can I do about Glaucoma if I have it?
The most common treatment option is to control intraocular pressure (IOP) by taking eye drops. Furthermore, a glaucoma-specialized ophthalmologist like Dr. Samara may recommend surgery. In fact, Dr. Samara is board-certified in ophthalmology and internal medicine, and is proficient in many glaucoma surgeries. He also performs many minimally invasive glaucoma procedures.
All in all, the best way to prevent vision loss caused by glaucoma is to see your eye doctor annually, or as recommended.