Often known as the “silent thief of vision,” glaucoma is the leading cause of blindness in the United States in people over the age of 60. It gradually damages the optic nerves in your eyes, causing blind spots and, without treatment, the eventual loss of vision. The problem is that many people with glaucoma don’t notice the condition until their vision begins to change. Fortunately, treatment can help to protect your eyesight if you detect glaucoma in its early stages.
Signs and Symptoms of Glaucoma
Most people who develop glaucoma don’t notice anything’s wrong until the condition has progressed to more advanced stages when their vision begins to change and they start noticing blind spots. There are very few signs that may point toward a problem
Risk Factors for Glaucoma
Some people are more vulnerable to glaucoma than others. You’re more likely to be at risk if:
- You’re over 60
- You’re African American or Latin American
- You have diabetes
- You have a family history of glaucoma
While these factors don’t necessarily mean you’ll develop glaucoma, they do mean that you have a greater chance and some have glaucoma without any of these risk factors.
When to Be Concerned
With so few early warning signs, the best way to spot glaucoma is with routine eye exams. If you notice any of the above symptoms, you should schedule an appointment, especially if you haven’t had one in a while.
As the condition worsens , you may start to notice blind spots in your vision, which you should address right away. Once noticed, the symptoms may progress rapidly over a few months. It is important to note that it is progressive and irreversible. Timing of care is important.
The Impact of Glaucoma Treatment
The good news is that glaucoma is very treatable. Treatments generally focus on lowering and stabilizing the pressure in your eyes to prevent damage to the optic nerves. In doing so, they help to protect your vision.
Treatments for glaucoma include:
- Medicated eye drops, which help to decrease the pressure in your eyes and/or decrease the amount of fluid your eyes make
- SLT laser, a gentle laser that activates the natural drainage passages, lowering pressure for up to 5 years.
- Micro-invasive glaucoma surgeries (MIGS), which can help to reduce (or even eliminate) the need for daily glaucoma eye drops
- Traditional surgery for glaucoma, which is generally used for more severe cases
There isn’t a cure for glaucoma yet, but early diagnosis and treatment can help you to manage the condition more effectively. With proper care, you can protect your eyesight, reducing or even stopping vision loss.
Are You Worried About Glaucoma?
If you’re worried about glaucoma, don’t wait. The longer you put off an exam, the more difficult the condition becomes to treat. At Brimhall Eye, we’ll perform a thorough exam and provide you with the treatment you need to restore your eye health. Contact us today for more information or to schedule an appointment.