In 2014, a general census of American Health reported that over three million individuals suffer from Glaucoma. Over 80% of these victims are senior citizens over the age of 40, leading many to label Glaucoma as an “older person’s disease”. While this isn’t entirely incorrect, anyone is capable of developing one of the many variations of Glaucoma. Eye doctors in Brooklyn, NY have collected a data to help provide patients at risk with information on how to prepare for and contend with depreciating vision and optical health.
What is Glaucoma?
Glaucoma is not just one disease, but actually a collection of diseases that cause damage to the optic nerve. This results in varying levels of vision loss, ranging from blurriness to complete blindness. In the most common variety, Open Eye Glaucoma, fluid that typically drains in and out of the anterior chamber of the eye fails to travel properly and collects. Since the fluid builds up, the pressure inside the eye rises to a level that may damage the optic nerve. Thankfully, it is possible to prevent severe vision loss is Glaucoma is detected and treated early.
What are the Symptoms of Glaucoma?
Detecting Glaucoma in its earliest stages can be fairly difficult, as the symptoms do not make themselves apparent. There is no pain, no vision loss, and doesn’t cause a physical change in the patient. Over time, the patient will begin to lose sight in the periphery (along the edges) of their field of vision. A common sign of developing Glaucoma is being incapable of noticing things approaching you from the side, due to the peripheral vision being clouded. This tunnel vision will continue to affect the patient’s sight, the cloudy or darkened areas encroaching further towards the center, until complete blindness.
How is Glaucoma Found in a Patient?
In order for Glaucoma to be detected, a patient must undergo a series of comprehensive dilated eye exams. These include, but may not be limited to:
- Visual Acuity Test
- Field of Vision Test
- Tonometry (“Eye Pressure Test”)
- Pachymetry (“Cornea Thickness Test”)
What are Treatments for Glaucoma?
While it is impossible to cure Glaucoma entirely, and as the blindness it causes is permanent, its progression can be slowed. Reactive treatments include medicines, laser therapy, traditional surgery, or a combination of any of these. While these treatments may go a long way toward saving the patient’s remaining vision, they cannot improve eye sight already lost due to glaucoma.