At least half of the 3 million Americans who have glaucoma do not know they have it because they experience no symptoms. It is one of the leading causes of blindness for people over the age of 60. When glaucoma is found early, it can be treated to slow or prevent vision loss. That’s why it’s important to learn the signs and symptoms and what you can do to prevent vision loss from glaucoma.
What is glaucoma?
Glaucoma is a disease that damages your eye’s optic nerves and can lead to blindness. The nerve connecting the eye to the brain is damaged, most often because of high eye pressure. While treatment can help, this condition cannot be cured.
What are the signs and symptoms?
Glaucoma often presents with no signs or symptoms at first. The change is so gradual that you may not know anything is wrong until glaucoma reaches an advanced stage.
What are the types of glaucoma?
Primary open-angle glaucoma is the most common type. It happens gradually, as the eye does not drain fluid as well as it should. The building eye pressure starts to damage the optic nerve. This type of glaucoma is painless and causes no initial vision changes, which is why regular eye exams are so important. They will help find early signs of damage to the optic nerve.
Closed-angle glaucoma or narrow-angle glaucoma happens when the iris of the eye is very close to the drainage angle of the eye. The iris then blocks the drainage angle, and the eye pressure rises quickly. If you have suddenly blurry vision, severe eye pain, a headache, nausea, vomiting or see rainbow-colored rings or halos around lights, you will want to see your doctor right away to prevent blindness. These are signs of an acute closed-angle glaucoma attack.
Glaucoma will eventually lead to blindness if left untreated. Regular eye exams will help you stay on top of the health of your eyes and catch diseases and conditions at early, treatable stages. Schedule your next appointment by calling (508) 836-8733 today.