Glaucoma is a terrifying disease for three reasons. First of all, there is no cure. Even with current technology and treatments, once you have the condition, you have it for good.
Second, the vision loss that it causes is permanent. This means that if you find out you have glaucoma later, any vision loss is not reversible.
Third, and perhaps worst of all, it presents virtually no symptoms. This makes it very hard to detect.
Knowing these facts about glaucoma may be frightening, but there is hope! With regular appointments, you can get the upper hand with glaucoma.
Early detection and early treatment are paramount. Treating glaucoma is not a “cure”, as you will need to consistently take medication or it will stop working.
But when taken as directed, glaucoma medications are effective at stopping the progression of glaucoma. Keep reading to find out who is most at risk of developing glaucoma!
Glaucoma Risk Factors
Risk factors for glaucoma depend on the type of glaucoma you are talking about.
The most common form of glaucoma is primary open-angle glaucoma. This form of glaucoma has the symptoms mentioned above.
Primary-open angle glaucoma occurs when a specific drainage system in the eye becomes clogged or blocked. As the eye produces fluid, it can only drain slowly, causing pressure to build up.
When the pressure rises, the optic nerve at the back of the eye begins to become damaged. Exactly how much pressure the optic nerve can take varies from person to person.
Without immediate intervention, vision loss is permanent. This type of glaucoma primarily affects people:
- Who are older than 60
- Who have a genetic predisposition to glaucoma, meaning they have family members with glaucoma
- Who have thin corneas
- Who have naturally high eye pressure
- Who are older than 40 if they are African American
- Who are severely nearsighted
- Who are using corticosteroids for an extended period of time
A less common, but more intense kind of glaucoma is angle-closure glaucoma. This kind of glaucoma occurs when the drainage system is completely pinched off. If this happens, it causes internal eye pressure to skyrocket.
Vision loss from this type of glaucoma is also permanent. Vision loss is also rapid and accompanied by distinct and noticeable symptoms such as nausea and headaches. Angle-closure glaucoma primarily affects people:
- Who are older than 40
- Who have a family history of glaucoma
- Who have had previous eye injuries
- Who are of East Asian descent
The third type of glaucoma is normal-tension glaucoma. presents like normal glaucoma, but with normal eye pressure. This type of glaucoma primarily affects people:
- Who have cardiovascular disease
- Who have a family history of normal-tension glaucoma
- Who are of Japanese descent
How Glaucoma Medication Works
Glaucoma medication works by lowering eye pressure to manageable levels. The medication is usually taken in the form of drops, although it may be coupled with oral medication.
Some patients may not take eye drops if they cannot handle the side effects and will try an oral medication instead.
The eye drops work to reduce eye pressure by relaxing muscles so the fluid can flow more freely from the eye. This slows down the production of internal eye fluid or a hybrid of both.
After you are diagnosed with glaucoma, your doctor will determine the best method for you.
Searching for glaucoma treatment? Schedule an appointment at Premier Eye Care of Eastern Idaho in Idaho Falls, ID today to meet with one of our skilled doctors!