An In-Depth Look at the Risk Factors Associated with Glaucoma

Glaucoma is estimated to affect as many as three million people in the United States alone. Unfortunately, glaucoma is one of the leading causes of vision loss. Here is a look at some of the primary risk factors of glaucoma to get to know.

Age

Glaucoma is known to affect people no matter their age. However, open-angle glaucoma is more related to age; it tends to be more of a risk the older you get and is more prevalent in people over the age of 60. As you get older, the optic nerve can be more vulnerable to problems that lead to glaucoma.

Ethnicity

Individuals who are of African or Latino descent may be at an increased risk of glaucoma. While people of all ethnicities can have glaucoma, individuals from these groups should be even more vigilant about monitoring for symptoms and having periodic screenings with an eye doctor.

Family History

While glaucoma is not necessarily considered a genetic eye disease, there may be a slightly elevated risk if a member of your immediate family has been diagnosed. Genetic factors seem to play a role in most forms of glaucoma. If one of your parents, a sibling, or even a grandparent was diagnosed, be on the lookout for symptoms with your own vision.

Lifestyle

Certain lifestyle factors can heighten your risks of glaucoma, such as:

  • Leading a sedentary lifestyle
  • Not eating a nutritious, well-balanced diet
  • Smoking or being around secondhand smoke

If you believe you are at risk of glaucoma already due to other factors, making lifestyle changes to lower your risks can be even more important.

Talk to an Eye Doctor in Wilmington About Glaucoma

While glaucoma can be a worrisome eye health condition, proactive treatment can make a big difference in the effect on your visual capabilities. If you believe you are at high risk of glaucoma, reach out to us at the Paul Vision Institute in Wilmington, NC to schedule an appointment.

Can Glaucoma Be Reversed?

Affecting nearly 3 million people in the U.S., glaucoma is one of the most serious eye diseases and is a leading cause of blindness. Since there is no pain associated with the onset of glaucoma, many people do not realize they have it until it is in its later stages. Caused by increased pressure within the eye that damages the optic nerve, many who have glaucoma wonder if it is a condition that can be reversed. In many cases, the answer is both yes and no.

Can Glaucoma be Reversed?

For this question, the answer is no. Once a person is diagnosed with glaucoma, there is currently no cure for the condition so that it can be reversed, and no way to undo the damage already done in terms of vision loss. However, that does not mean a patient should lose hope.

Reversing the Underlying Cause

While it may not be possible to reverse glaucoma itself, it is however quite possible to reverse the underlying cause that leads to the condition, namely the increased eye pressure. To do so, an ophthalmologist can examine a patient’s eyes, measure the pressure being placed on the optic nerve, and then prescribe eye drops that help fluid drain from the eyes, thus reducing the pressure. For some patients, oral medications such as carbonic anhydrase inhibitors may be used in conjunction with eye drops. In extremely severe cases, laser surgery can be used to open clogged channels within the eyes to allow for proper fluid drainage, or an eye surgeon can insert small drainage tubes to help lower eye pressure.

Since detecting glaucoma in its early stages is the key to avoiding serious problems later on, schedule an exam as soon as possible with your eye doctor, especially if you are experiencing vision loss or other issues.

 

Clearing the Fog: Myths About Glaucoma

Glaucoma is widely recognized in optometry as the top cause of blindness, and this condition is common in the United States with more than three million sufferers. In order to better understand glaucoma as a major eye health condition, it is important that you are not misled by myths and misunderstandings.

Myth: Glaucoma only affects people of certain ethnic groups.

While it is true that glaucoma can be more prevalent among African Americans and Hispanic Americans, the condition can affect anyone. If you are of African or Hispanic ethnicity, it is a good idea to work closely with your eye doctor to monitor for problems, but everyone should discuss their individual risks with an eye doctor regardless of ethnicity.

Myth: Blindness caused by glaucoma can be reversed.

Even though there are treatments available that can potentially slow the progression of glaucoma, there is no cure, and, unfortunately, blindness related to glaucoma is not something that is reversible. This is why it is so critical to be vigilant about your eye health and regular eye exams if you believe you could be at risk.

Myth: You can’t get glaucoma if you don’t smoke.

It is no secret that people who smoke are at a heightened risk of glaucoma. However, it is a common myth that if you do not smoke or you are no around people who do smoke, you can’t get glaucoma. Even though smoking and glaucoma are obviously related, other factors contribute to the development of eye disease as well. A few other factors can include genetics, age, and even a history of taking certain types of medications. Therefore, you can be at risk of glaucoma development even if you have never been a smoker.

Schedule an Appointment with a Wilmington Eye doctor

Your vision means a lot to your quality of life, so anything that poses a threat cannot be ignored. Reach out to us at the Paul Vision Institute in Wilmington, NC if you would like to talk more about your risks of developing glaucoma.

Does Glaucoma Always Lead to Blindness?

Glaucoma is a disease that affects the health of the eyes and—eventually—the vision of the eyes. It’s important to distinguish between these two, because it’s possible to have clear vision while your eye health is being compromised by the advancement of glaucoma. This means that a person may have no symptoms of glaucoma at all, allowing this disease to silently worsen to the point of blindness. This is why your Wilmington optometrist gives you a glaucoma test during every appointment, even if you come in for an entirely different reason.

What is Glaucoma?

Glaucoma progresses over a long period of time. Pressure builds up behind the eye, causing a buildup of fluid. This buildup puts pressure on the optic nerve, disrupting the signals between your eyes and your brain. Without the flow of those signals, the capacity for vision is lost. In other words, the patient goes blind. Glaucoma can technically affect people of all ages, but it’s most common in those over 40.

Untreated Glaucoma Leads to Blindness

Unless glaucoma is treated, it almost always leads to blindness eventually. Vision loss will progress slowly over a period of years, but the loss will be permanent and 100% unless the disease is treated. At any stage during this progression, the disease may be halted or at least slowed in its advancement toward blindness. However, this is an outcome that doesn’t necessarily have to happen. With routine testing for glaucoma at your vision center in Wilmington, in coordination with any necessary treatment, glaucoma doesn’t have to lead to total blindness.

Each time you visit Paul Vision Institute in Wilmington, you’ll be tested for glaucoma. The test is fast, painless and non-invasive. Yet, this simple test aids in the prevention of the devastating and preventable disease of glaucoma.