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Glaucoma 101

POSTED ON January 14, 2013

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Glaucoma 101 Because January is National Glaucoma Awareness Month, I thought I would just give a quick Glaucoma 101 lesson. Glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness, led only by cataracts. Additionally, glaucoma is painless, which is why patients are unaware of it before it is too late. Glaucoma refers to a group of eye disorders that have few or no initial symptoms, but cause harm to the optic nerve. Glaucoma usually has higher-than-normal pressure inside the eye and ...

Glaucoma 101

Because January is National Glaucoma Awareness Month, I thought I would just give a quick Glaucoma 101 lesson. Glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness, led only by cataracts. Additionally, glaucoma is painless, which is why patients are unaware of it before it is too late.

Glaucoma refers to a group of eye disorders that have few or no initial symptoms, but cause harm to the optic nerve. Glaucoma usually has higher-than-normal pressure inside the eye and will first cause loss of peripheral vision, and may eventually lead to blindness. The most common type of glaucoma is Primary Open-Angle Glaucoma, which develops over time. Angle Closure Glaucoma happens much more quickly, and is considered an ocular emergency. It can cause vision loss within a day of onset.

Catching symptoms early can slow or even fully prevent glaucoma and having a Comprehensive Eye Exam every year is the best way to catch symptoms.  Optometrists will use a tonometer to measure your inter-ocular pressure. If your IOP is too high, your eyes are either producing too much fluid, or not draining enough fluid.

Are you susceptible to glaucoma? Everyone should get checked out, but if you meet one or more of the criterion below, be sure to take extra care when talking to your doctor about the risks.

  • Being over 60. If you are older than 60, you are six times more likely to have glaucoma.
  • Family history. Glaucoma runs in the family, increasing chances by four to nine times.
  • Steroid medication use. One study found that heavy use of inhaled steroids for asthma boosted glaucoma risk by 40 percent.
  • Ethnicity. African-Americans and Hispanics are six to eight times more likely to develop glaucoma than Caucasians.
  • Eye injury. Even if it is only a black eye, eye injuries can cause glaucoma years after impact. Use protective eyewear for activities that may cause eye injury, such as sports like boxing or baseball, or using power tools.

Don’t wait until it is too late. Dr Tavel has 20 convenient locations that can get you in today.

 

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