January is Glaucoma Awareness Month

Glaucoma is a severe eye disease that can affect anyone and is often referred to as the silent thief of sight. It’s essential to be aware of this condition to prevent irreversible damage to your vision.

Keep reading to learn more about glaucoma and glaucoma awareness month.

What is Glaucoma?

Glaucoma is a collection of diseases in your eye that cause eye pressure, or IOP, to rise. It can result in permanent vision loss over time. 

The increased pressure results from eye fluid building up inside your eye. The pressure it creates can damage your optic nerve.

Your optic nerve connects your eye to your brain and relays images. This damage can impair your vision and lead to vision loss without intervention. 

You can inherit glaucoma, and you should get regular eye checkups if you have a family history. It’s also possible to get it even if no one in your family has ever had it.

If you have diabetes or are a long-term user of corticosteroids, you are at particular risk from glaucoma.

Does Glaucoma Have Early Symptoms?

You may notice blind spots in front of your eyes or a loss of your peripheral or side vision. You may even see halos or glares around lights or need more light to see clearly.

Colors may also not look the same as they once did. The scariest thing about glaucoma is that it often doesn’t present symptoms.

Often, once you experience glaucoma symptoms, optic nerve and vision damage have already occurred. It’s also possible to develop Glaucoma in only one eye.

Two Types of Glaucoma

Unfortunately, Glaucoma often develops without any noticeable symptoms. That’s where the nickname the silent thief of sight comes from.

And it’s also why you should take glaucoma very seriously. There are two types of Glaucoma, and while one type doesn’t always present symptoms, the other does. 

Open-Angle Glaucoma is the most common of the two types and develops over time with no symptoms. This type of glaucoma results from blocks in the drainage network in your eye.

That block causes fluid to build up, increasing pressure and eventually pressing on your optic nerve. When you notice spots in your vision, the damage is already permanent.

There is another form of Glaucoma that does have noticeable symptoms. This type is angle-closure glaucoma because it results from closure in the angle where the iris meets the cornea. 

The buildup of pressure causes damage to the optic nerve and results in vision loss. Damage to the optic nerve happens more quickly with angle-closure Glaucoma.

That’s why there are more symptoms from it. You may experience blurred vision, halos around bright lights, head and eye pain, nausea and vomiting, and sudden vision loss.

If you suddenly experience these symptoms, seek immediate medical care. Angle-closure glaucoma is a medical emergency.

Can You Treat Glaucoma?

It is possible to stop the progression of Glaucoma if you catch it in time. The only way to do this is by getting regular eye exams.

And if you have a family history of glaucoma, be sure to let your eye doctor know. They will add it to your chart and regularly check for it.

Treatment consists of reducing the pressure inside your eye. Medicated eye drops, oral prescriptions, and surgery are the most common treatment options.

Oral prescriptions can also help to improve the function of the optic nerve. A laser will create a new drainage pathway to remove fluid from your eye if surgery is necessary.

This will alleviate the pressure on your optic nerve and help prevent vision loss.

Are you concerned about glaucoma? Schedule an appointment at Vermont Eye Laser in Burlington, VT. Keep your eyes safe from the silent thief of sight!

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