Glaucoma is the leading cause of blindness in the United States. In the United States, 3 million people suffer from glaucoma, but less than half are aware that they have it.

The prevalence of glaucoma increases with age, with people over the age of 60 being at the highest risk. African Americans are also at a higher risk of developing glaucoma, and are 15 times more likely to be blind from the disease than white Americans.

What is glaucoma?

Glaucoma is a common eye condition that affects a significant portion of the older population. It is often caused by increased pressure within the eye, but can also be due to other factors such as optic nerve damage or blood flow problems. In severe cases, it can lead to vision loss and even blindness.

There are several types of glaucoma and it can be caused by various factors, but the most common is increased pressure in the eye. This is why it is important to have your eye pressure checked during regular eye exams.

Symptoms of glaucoma

One of the main challenges with glaucoma is that it often has no symptoms in the early stages. This is why it is so important to schedule comprehensive eye exams regularly, especially if you have a family history of glaucoma or are over the age of 50. As the condition progresses, symptoms may include:

It is important to note that these symptoms may not appear until the disease is in its advanced stages, which is why it is important to get regularly checked for glaucoma. Early detection and treatment can help preserve vision.

Who is at higher risk for Glaucoma?

  • Glaucoma can impact people at any age, however the risk increases for those aged 50 and over.
  • African Americans over the age of 40 are at a higher risk for glaucoma
  • Diabetics are at a higher risk for glaucoma
  • Having a family history of glaucoma puts you in a higher risk category for glaucoma

What does an eye exam for glaucoma involve?

An eye exam for glaucoma typically involves several tests to assess the health of your eyes and check for signs of the disease. Some of the tests that may be performed during an eye exam for glaucoma include:

  • Visual acuity test: This measures your ability to see clearly at different distances.
  • Eye pressure test: This measures the pressure inside your eye, which is one of the main risk factors for glaucoma.
  • Dilated eye exam: Drops are used to widen your pupils, allowing the doctor to examine the inside of your eye and look for signs of glaucoma.
  • Visual field test: This measures your peripheral vision to check for signs of glaucoma.
  • Optic nerve exam: The doctor will examine the optic nerve, looking for signs of damage that may be caused by glaucoma.
  • OCT imagingAn OCT test may be recommended during a glaucoma exam, an OCT uses light waves to create a detailed image of the layers of the retina and optic nerve. This test can help detect early signs of glaucoma, as well as monitor the progression of the condition.

It is important to get regularly checked for glaucoma, especially if you have risk factors such as high eye pressure or a family history of the disease.

What are the different treatment options for glaucoma?

The main goal of treatment for glaucoma is to lower the pressure within the eye and preserve the remaining vision. This is typically done with the use of eye drops, which are used daily to lower the pressure. In cases where the drops are not effective, more invasive procedures such as laser surgery may be used. It is important to note that once the optic nerve has been damaged, it cannot be repaired. Therefore, the goal of treatment is to slow the progression of the disease and preserve the remaining vision.

If you are at risk for glaucoma, it is important to take proactive steps to preserve your vision. One of the best ways to do this is by getting regularly checked by your optometrist. Early detection and treatment of glaucoma can help preserve your vision.

Schedule with eye doctors for a medical eye exam by visiting our reputable optometry clinic in Olympia, conveniently serving patients from nearby Lakewood, Tacoma, and Lacey. Call (360) 491-2121 or fill out this form to make an appointment today.
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