Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases that damages the nerve in the back of your eye known as the optic nerve. If left untreated, glaucoma can lead to vision loss and blindness. Unfortunately, there are certain myths about the disease that can leave you misinformed. Below you’ll learn some common myths and the actual truths behind them.
MYTH: Glaucoma can be cured.
FACT: Glaucoma can’t be cured, but it can be treated. Treatments include oral pills, eye drops, and surgery.
MYTH: Only the elderly get glaucoma.
FACT: While the risk of glaucoma does increase as you get older and most cases of open-angle glaucoma is due to age, glaucoma can affect individuals of any age, including newborns.
MYTH: Glaucoma is just one disease.
FACT: There are actually many forms of glaucoma, and it’s considered a group of diseases. Two common types are angle-closure glaucoma (ACG) and primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG). In POAG, the drainage canals of your eyes become clogged and cause an increase in pressure in the internal eye and damage to your optic nerve. POAG develops gradually with peripheral vision loss. With ACG, the angle where your iris comes together with your cornea is closed usually, causing increased pressure in your eye and leading to loss of vision and optic nerve damage. This type can occur gradually or suddenly.
MYTH: Tests for glaucoma hurt.
FACT: Glaucoma testing is totally painless. There are a few types of testing. There’s the air puff test where a device blows a warm puff of air into each of your eyes, testing the intraocular pressure. This test might startle you, but it only takes a second. It’s also painless. Another test, called the Goldman applanation tonometry, has you receiving an eye drop in each of your eyes—also painless and quick.
MYTH: Glaucoma is a disease you can only inherit.
FACT: While you can inherit some types of glaucoma and a big risk factor for them is a family history, many individuals are diagnosed with glaucoma even when they don’t have a family history of the disease. And frequently, individuals aren’t aware of family history because their family members haven’t been examined appropriately.
MYTH: There will be signs of glaucoma.
FACT: With the most common type of glaucoma (open-angle glaucoma), there are hardly any symptoms or signs. Pain isn’t associated with the enhanced eye pressure either, contrary to popular belief. Also, vision loss only begins with side vision or peripheral vision, therefore you might not even realize your vision is impaired. The only way you can tell if you have the disease is by having an eye exam performed that tests for glaucoma.
Contact Florida Eye Specialists Today
Glaucoma is a severe disease that, when ignored, can lead to vision loss and blindness. There are treatments available. Contact Florida Eye Specialists to schedule an appointment at one of our eight locations around Jacksonville, Saint Augustine, and Palatka.