Glaucoma is a serious condition that, if left untreated, can lead to vision loss. The National Eye Institute estimates that by 2030, 4.2 million people in the United States will have glaucoma. And, unfortunately, half of all people with glaucoma are unaware they have it.
In honor of National Glaucoma Awareness Month, the team at Better Vision New Jersey wants to provide visibility for those diagnosed with glaucoma and raise awareness about resources for treatment.
Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases caused by high eye pressure that damages the optic nerve. While there are several different types of glaucoma, the two main types are open-angle glaucoma and angle-closure glaucoma (also called closed-angle glaucoma). Open-angle glaucoma is the most common, and it occurs when a buildup of fluid inside the eye increases eye pressure and damages the optic nerve, creating blind spots. Open-angle glaucoma is very gradual, and you may lose vision before you even notice changes.
Angle-closure glaucoma, however, can occur very quickly. If you experience eye pain, blurry vision, halos around lights, and severe headaches, nausea, or vomiting, you may have acute angle-closure glaucoma, and emergency medical treatment is necessary.
High intraocular pressure, previous eye injuries, or a family history of glaucoma puts you at a higher risk of developing it. Glaucoma can happen at any age, but it is more common for people over 50 years old. People of African American, Latino, and Asian descent have an increased risk, as do those with diabetes, sickle cell anemia, and high blood pressure. People who have thin corneas or who are very nearsighted or farsighted are also at a higher risk for glaucoma.
A nutritious diet, moderate exercise, and other healthy lifestyle choices may decrease your risk for glaucoma. However, the most important preventative measure is having comprehensive eye exams.
Glaucoma often has no warning signs, and people may not detect symptoms until vision loss or significant nerve damage has already occurred. Vision loss from glaucoma is irreversible, so comprehensive eye exams to detect glaucoma early are critical.
If you do have glaucoma, treatments are available. Many people use prescription eye drops to lower eye pressure. Others may need surgery to help drain fluid buildup in the eyes. At Better Vision New Jersey, we will develop an individualized treatment plan based on your health, vision, and goals.
Protect your vision from this sight-threatening disease. Schedule your next appointment with Better Vision New Jersey today and make 2022 your healthiest year!