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Glaucoma, Eye Disease

Glaucoma is an eye disease in which the normal fluid pressure inside the eyes slowly rises. This alone is not what glaucoma is; Glaucoma is a combination of 3 risk factors: Elevated Pressure Optic Nerve Injury Visual Loss Glaucoma has also been called the “sneak thief of sight”, because is usually strikes without warning, therefore a victim of the disease is unaware of it until serious damage is already done. There are no symptoms and there is no pain, and vision stays relatively normal.

As the disease progresses, a person with the disease MAY notice his or her vision getting slightly worse…the field of vision decreases, and things to the side may be missed. Soon after this is when blindness occurs. There is one situation in which the on set of glaucoma is noticeable, when the intraocular pressure increases suddenly…causing an angle-closure (acute glaucoma) attack. This is very painful and can happen in only a matter of hours. Following this attack, blindness or severe damage to sight may occur.

Here are some of the indications: Intense pain, that may cause nausea and vomiting – Halos around lights (rainbow colored rings) – Pain around eyes after watching TV If a combination of these things occurs, see a doctor immediately to prevent severe damage to sight. Now that we know WHAT glaucoma is and what causes it, we need to know who is at risk for getting this life altering disease and how to prevent it. People at the highest risk for this disease are people that: – Are Either males or females over age 60 – Were exposed to steroids/cortisone for a long time – Have a strong family history of glaucoma

If you are at high risk for this disease and your over the age of 45 you should make sure to see your eye doctor every year, if your under age 45 and at risk you need to go every 2 years. Some of the testes done to detect this disease are eye pressure measurements and the “air puff” test, but the most effective is the exam done through dilated pupils. This way the doctor can see more of the inside of the eye to look for signs of glaucoma. There is no cure for glaucoma but there are plenty of treatments to control it. Such as medications (eye drops or pills) that control the flow of fluid into the eye.

Although they have side effects and eventually stop working doctors can prescribe another group of drugs and change dosages. Laser surgery in another option even though the effects wear off, and surgery which is used as a last resort and pills must still be taken. The only way to prevent this disease from taking over you life is early detection and treatment so it can be controlled. If you are at risk make sure you let your doctor know, and even if you’re not at risk you must see your eye doctor every 4 years for a check up just in case this disease begins to form. Early detection is the only way to prevent blindness.

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