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Glaucoma: What is it?

Glaucoma: What is it?

It’s frightening to know that a disease can creep up on you without any warnings.

Glaucoma is an eye disease that damages the eye’s optic nerve (a nerve in the back of the eye) and slowly deteriorates your vision to potentially result in blindness. It starts without any pain and begins to gradually cause vision loss. Approximately over 3 million Americans are estimated to have glaucoma, however 50% of those individuals stay undiagnosed since there aren’t any early symptoms. According to the CDC it is the second leading cause of blindness worldwide. That being the case, increased screening and awareness are necessary to help detect glaucoma’s development as early as possible. No cure has been discovered yet, but if it’s caught early you can protect your vision and prevent vision loss. Fortunately, your doctor can test for glaucoma and there are treatments available. Glaucoma is treated with eye drops, oral medicine, or surgery (or a combination of treatments) to reduce pressure in the eye and prevent permanent vision loss.

Who is at high risk?

Anyone can get glaucoma, but some patients have higher risks:

  • Patients with a family history of glaucoma.
  • Patients with diabetes, high blood pressure or are overweight.
  • Patients over the age of 60, especially if they are Hispanic or Latino.
  • African American patients over 40 years of age.

Protect your vision and take action!

Maintain a healthy body weight to help lower the risk of developing diabetes or high blood pressure, which are the primary factors in glaucoma-related visual loss and help decrease the likelihood of developing glaucoma. Even if you have no symptoms, it is important to schedule a routine eye exam where the doctor will perform a series of tests to assess your risk of developing the disease. With regular eye exams, early detection and proper care, you can preserve your sight!

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