Aging is one of the risk factors for glaucoma and every birthday make you at higher risk for the disease.
Unfortunately, the older you are over 65, the higher your risk for this disease. It affects over 3 million Americans, and it is the second leading cause of blindness in the United States. Fortunately, if it is detected early and properly treated, most vision loss is preventable.
What Is Glaucoma?
It is a disease that is often linked to a buildup of pressure in the eye. The increased buildup can cause damage to your optic nerve, thereby causing a loss of vision. The two most common types of glaucoma are Open Angle and Narrow Angle.
Why is it called the “Silent Thief of Sight”?
Glaucoma can slowly steal your eyesight without your even realizing that anything is wrong. The damage is usually painless, it progresses slowly and most often it is without noticeable symptoms.
How do you know if you have it?
This disease is usually discovered during a routine eye examination. Since it tends to run in families, it is important for the entire family to have regular eye examinations, especially if there is a family history of glaucoma. Even though the chance for developing it increases with age, it can strike at any age. The Eye Associates tests for glaucoma at every visit, even our younger patients.
What is the difference between Open Angle and Narrow Angle Glaucoma?
Our eyes have a constant flow of fluid that drains through the “angle” of the eye. In Open Angle, this drainage system becomes clogged, causing a slow buildup of fluid pressure in the eye. When this happens, it reduces the blood supply to the optic nerve, causing a loss of peripheral vision, most times without notice because of the gradual nature. Often it is only after irreparable damage has occurred that a person becomes aware they even have this disease. Since open-angle glaucoma is a chronic condition, it must be monitored for life.
Watch this animation to help you better understand Open Angle Glaucoma.
Narrow Angle (or Closed Angle)
Narrow Angle results from a sudden, complete blockage of fluid drainage, causing a rapid and painful rise in pressure. It can occur at any age, and can cause blindness in a day or two if no treatment is given. Narrow Angle occurs more frequently at night, during emotional stress and even with the use of some over-the-counter medicines such as Dristan, Contac, or Benadryl.
To learn more about this eye disease, go to our YouTube channel for more information:http://bit.ly/1U8k3ci
If you would like to be evaluated by our Fellowship Trained Glaucoma Specialist, Robert Friedman, MD, or one of our board certified eye physicians, please call toll free 1-866-865-2020 or contact The Eye Associates.