Monday, May 4, 2009

What Do I Need To Know About Glaucoma?

Glaucoma is a leading cause of blindness if it is left untreated. Most forms of glaucoma are painless, therefore, only routine eye examinations will reveal that someone may be at risk or have the disease. There is no cure and vision loss and field of vision can not be regained. Surgery, including laser surgery, and medications can halt further progression of the disease.

Who is at risk? Everyone is at risk. Adults are at higher risk but babies can be born with the disease also. African-Americans are susceptible to the disease at a younger age.

Open angle glaucoma, the most frequent form of glaucoma, has virtually no symptoms. There is no pain with this type of glaucoma. Vision loss begins with side or peripheral vision.

There are other forms of glaucoma, such as narrow angle glaucoma, where there can be a sudden rise in pressure leading to pain, headache, and even vomiting. The pressure rises quickly in a very short amount of time and can lead to severe visual loss. Patients at risk for this type of glaucoma can usually be detected and a laser procedure can be performed to prevent this rise in pressure.

Nine to twelve percent of blindness in the United States is from glaucoma. Glaucoma is the leading cause of blindness in the world and the leading cause of blindness among African-Americans.

High risk groups include people with a family member already diagnosed, people over sixty years old, diabetics, African-Americans, and people who are very nearsighted.

You can promote your eye health by receiving routine eye examinations from your Ophthalmologist.

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