Glaucoma is a leading cause of vision loss in the United States. Glaucoma is referred to as a silent disease because many times it can deteriorate your eyesight before you know you have an issue. When caught at an early stage, you may be able to protect your eyes from serious vision loss. The best way to proactively address the risk of glaucoma is to schedule regular eye exams.
What is Glaucoma?
Glaucoma is not a single eye disease but rather a group of diseases which damages your optic nerve. The optic nerve is like an electric cable with over a million wires responsible for carrying images from your eye to your brain. Glaucoma usually occurs when the internal pressure of your eye rises slowly and begins to deteriorate your optic nerve.
As your optic nerve fibers deteriorate, you will start to develop peripheral (side) blind spots. You typically won't notice these blank spots in your daily activities until the optic nerve is significantly damaged and these spots become large. If all of your optic nerve fibers die, blindness will result.
Who is at risk for glaucoma?
You may be at higher risk if you:
- Are 60 years or older
- Have a family history of glaucoma
- Experience elevated eye pressure
- Have African or Spanish ancestry
While these characteristics may place a person at a higher risk, everyone should see an eye doctor on a regular basis and have their eyes tested for glaucoma.
What are my treatment options for glaucoma?
Fortunately, medical advances have made it easier to detect and manage glaucoma. We suggest regular check-ups with one of our doctors at the Kraff Eye Institute. Frequent exams can help to detect glaucoma in its early stages before irreversible damage has occurred to your eyes. If you have further questions or want to schedule an appointment, call (312) 265-3400.