The most common kind of glaucoma that patients are diagnosed with is known as Primary Open-Angle Glaucoma. This condition is a chronic condition that must be managed for life. There isn’t a single definitive cause of glaucoma, but if the pressure in your eyes starts increasing, this might be a sign that the condition has already started to develop. When intraocular pressure increases, your eyes stop draining properly. When the fluid in your eyes, known as aqueous humor, starts building up, the optic pressure of your eye increases, damaging the optic nerve. This is why glaucoma treatment is so important.
Get Your Eyes Examined Regularly
Because primary open-angle glaucoma doesn’t have any symptoms when the condition first develops, it is essential that you stick to your annual eye examinations with your eye doctor. At your annual eye exams, your optic pressure is tested using a pressure check called tonometry. Although numbers are different for everyone, if your eye pressure is above 21 mmHg (millimeters of mercury) then you may have glaucoma. If your numbers are too high, it’s time to talk to your doctor at SightMD about next steps. This single reading doesn’t mean you have developed primary open-angle glaucoma, but it does mean that your risk for developing the condition has increased.
Typically, you won’t be able to notice glaucoma symptoms, at least at first. There’s no pain involved, and your vision won’t be affected. However, if the condition is left untreated, primary open angle glaucoma first results in tunnel-vision as you lose your peripheral vision. Over time, your “vision tunnel” gets smaller and smaller, eventually resulting in total loss of vision which is permanent. This a key reason why it’s so important to get eye exams on a regular basis! Although there is no cure for glaucoma, prevention, and early diagnosis will help you keep your glaucoma under control with proper treatment. If you begin noticing blind spots in your peripheral or central vision, or experience tunnel vision, call your doctor at SightMD as soon as possible for an appointment! These are common symptoms for primary open-angle glaucoma. If glaucoma symptoms are caught early, it’s possible to slow or prevent further vision loss. However, glaucoma treatment will likely be needed for life as it’s a chronic condition.
Who’s At Risk?
Anyone can develop glaucoma and is at risk for the condition. In fact, over three million Americans have glaucoma but only about half have been diagnosed. There are certain segments of the population that have higher risk factors than others, and you should take note if you belong to one of these groups:
- Anyone over the age of 60
- Anyone of African American descent
- Anyone with a family history of glaucoma
- Those with high intraocular pressure
- Those with refractive errors, like nearsightedness
- If you’ve sustained an eye injury
- If you are of Latino descent
- If you have diabetes, high blood pressure, sickle cell anemia, or heart disease
If you suspect that you may have glaucoma or would like more information, schedule an appointment at one of SightMD’s 23 convenient locations in New York!