InterView Magazine

Glaucoma: What your eyes may not be telling you


Chances are you’ve heard the term glaucoma, but you may not know much about it. Glaucoma refers to eye diseases in which the fluid pressure inside the eyes rises, leading to vision loss or even total blindness. It is important to get your eye pressure checked regularly to avoid becoming one of the estimated four million Americans affected by this disease.
 

     
     
    You can have glaucoma without even knowing it. The most common form of the disease, open-angle glaucoma, can show almost no symptoms until you start to lose your vision. It is sometimes referred to as “the sneak thief of sight.”
     
    Glaucoma, left untreated, is one of the leading causes of blindness.
     
    There is no cure for glaucoma and its effects cannot be reversed, though they can be slowed or stopped.
     
    Glaucoma can happen to anyone, but people over the age of 60 are at a higher risk of contracting this disease.
     
    People with diabetes are twice as likely to develop glaucoma.
     
    When vision isn’t regularly checked—40% of vision is lost by the time vision impairment is noticed.
     
What can you do to protect your vision?
     
    Getting diagnosed is the first and perhaps most important step. It is estimated that half of glaucoma sufferers are not even aware that they have it.
     
    Get your eyes checked every year and be sure that your doctor checks your eye pressure.
     
    If you have diabetes, ask about your eye pressure during your annual retinal exam.
     
If there is no cure for glaucoma, what can be done?
     
    Through early diagnosis and treatment, the disease can be controlled before vision loss or blindness occurs.
     
    Treatments for open-angle glaucoma can include medications, eye drops, or surgery.
     
Talk to your doctor today about having an eye exam. You can also visit informational websites, such as www.glaucoma.org or Inter Valley’s “Wellness Library” at www.ivhp.com/site/healthwellness/prevention. Don’t let the “sneak thief of sight” sneak up on you.
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