Glaucoma is a silent detroyer of vision. It is painless and a slow progressive disease on the eye. It affects your peripheral vision first and in uncontrolled cases can loss of central vison and ultimately lead to blindness. Few risk factors are: family history, ethnicity, age, internal ocular pressure, peripheral vision test, and appearance of the Optic Nerve. There is no cure for glaucoma but doctors can help slow down the progression with eye drops, lasers, or surgery.
What is Glaucoma?
In glaucoma, the eye’s optic nerve is damages and irreversible and can result in vision loss and blindness. Glaucoma occurs when the normal fluid pressure inside the eyes is elevated and compress on the optic nerve head. However, with early detection and treatment, you can often preserve your current nerve fibers and protect your eyes against serious vision loss.
Who is at risk for Glaucoma?
Anyone can develop glaucoma. Some people are at higher risk than others. They include:
- Ethnicity: African Americans and Mexican Americans.
- Age: Patients above 40 years of age are at a higher risk factor
- Family History of Glaucoma: People with a family history of glaucoma has a higher risk factor for developing glaucoma themselves.
- Patients with Diabetes
Among African Americans, studies show that glaucoma is:
- Five times more likely to occur in African Americans than in Caucasians.
- About four times more likely to cause blindness in African Americans than in Caucasians.
- Fifteen times more likely to cause blindness in African Americans between the ages of 45-64 than in Caucasians of the same age group.
A comprehensive dilated eye exam can reveal more risk factors, such as high eye pressure, thinness of the cornea, and abnormal optic nerve anatomy. In some people with certain combinations of these high-risk factors, medicines in the form of eyedrops reduce the risk of developing glaucoma by about half.