Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of blindness. Your chances of developing this potentially blinding disease increase with age and other risk factors including race and family history.
According to the National Eye Institute (NEI), 3 million Americans have glaucoma and they estimate it will rise to 4.2 million by 2030. The disease affects over 60 million worldwide.
There are various types or forms of glaucoma. “Open angle glaucoma” is the most common form found in Americans, while “narrow angle glaucoma” is more common found in Asian countries.
Glaucoma Risk Factors
Having a family member with glaucoma poses a major risk factor for your developing glaucoma. Other risk factors include;
- Anyone over age 60, especially Hispanic/Latino patients
- Asian or farsighted
- African Americans over age 40
- Family history
- Eye pressure
If your are being treated for glaucoma, we urge you to talk to them about this disease and the importance of early detection.
Symptoms of Glaucoma
Patients with glaucoma, especially open angle glaucoma, usually have no symptoms until the late stages of the disease. Early detection is paramount.
In most forms of glaucoma, the side vision is first affected. As the disease worsens, significant loss of peripheral vision can occur with eventual loss of your central vision. In severe cases, all vision is lost.
“Angle closure glaucoma,” and other forms, can cause pain, tearing, redness, blurry vision and nausea due to sudden increase in the eye pressure.
Diagnosis of Glaucoma
We specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of glaucoma. We are usually able to diagnose the disease with a complete eye examination and talking to you about your family and medical history.
Some of the diagnostic testing that may be performed during your visit may include;
- Vision testing
- IOP – intraocular pressure (eye pressure)
- Visual field testing
- Pachymetry – measures corneal thickness
- OCT – optical coherence tomography
- Dilated eye exam
Measuring your intraocular pressure is a significant risk factor for glaucoma and is routinely measured in every patient. Visual field testing can demonstrate if there is loss of your peripheral vision.
Your corneal thickness can also influence the eye pressure readings. For example, if your cornea is too thick, your eye pressure may be artificially high.
Optical coherence tomography (OCT) can demonstrate and measure damage to the optic nerve.
If someone in your family has glaucoma or if you have concerns, please call us and make an appointment!