Glaucoma is a disease caused by increased pressure in the eye that damages your eye’s optic nerve and gets worse over time. If damage worsens or isn’t glaucoma isn’t treated, it can cause permanent vision loss and even complete blindness in just a few years. Here are some things you should know about glaucoma so you can stay ahead of the disease and slow its progression:
- Glaucoma is not a disease caused by lifestyle. Poor diet or lack of exercise is commonly linked to many illnesses and diseases, but glaucoma is not one of them. While lifestyle factors can have an influence on eye pressure, glaucoma is caused by genetics, family history and aging. More than 100 genes have now been identified that cause glaucoma.
- Early glaucoma has no symptoms. Most people who have the most common type of glaucoma, open-angle glaucoma, don’t experience symptoms. That’s why it’s important to have routine eye exams for early detection to prevent vision loss. Symptoms of the second main type of glaucoma, called angle-closure glaucoma, come on faster and require immediate medical care. These include seeing halos around lights, loss of vision, redness in the eyes, an eye that looks hazy, eye pain and even upset stomach.
- Glaucoma is the second leading cause of preventable blindness in the United States. This is due to the lack of symptoms at the beginning, problems with medications that have side effects and compliance with difficult treatment regimens.
- Glaucoma treatment is most effective in the early stages of disease. During your routine eye exam, a dilated exam and check of eye pressure is done in addition to other tests such as optic nerve function. All of these tests are painless and don’t take too long. Treating glaucoma early is most effective to prevent further deterioration of the nerve.
- There are a variety of ways to treat glaucoma. While there is no cure, there are several treatment options, including eye drops, oral medications, laser surgery or microsurgery. Treatment options are based on the type of glaucoma and severity.
To learn more about glaucoma and treatment options, call (800) 676-5050 to set up a consultation with Eye & Lasik Center at one of our Massachusetts locations.