Glaucoma refers to a group of ocular conditions that gradually affects eyesight. Specifically, this occurs when excessive pressure is placed on the optic nerve over time, resulting in permanent vision loss.
January is glaucoma awareness month; a time for discussion of glaucoma signs and symptoms, types of glaucoma, and the best means of prevention.
Types of Glaucoma
There are essentially two types of glaucoma, though they both affect the eyes in the same way. Primary open-angle glaucoma (also known as POAG) and angle-closure glaucoma occur when pressure inside the eye increases and affects one’s vision. Secondary glaucoma, on the other hand, occurs when another medical condition or disease causes the increase in eye pressure. Both types of glaucoma are quite common, and the effects of both are permanent and non-reversible.
Signs and Symptoms
Unfortunately, there are often no glaring symptoms of glaucoma, which is why it is often referred to as “the sneak thief of sight.” However, in situations where signs or symptoms are present, they tend to include the appearance of patchy blind spots (especially in side vision) and tunnel vision. These symptoms are most common among those suffering from open-angle glaucoma.
For acute-angle glaucoma, possible signs include:
- Eye pain
- Eye redness
- Blurred vision
- Nausea and vomiting
Anybody can develop glaucoma, but there are several risk factors involved. Studies have shown that people of African, Asian, and Hispanic descent are more likely to develop glaucoma, as are people over the age of 60 and those who have been diagnosed with diabetes.
Importance of Regular Eye Exams
While the effects of glaucoma cannot be reversed, early detection and treatment is key to protecting your eyesight. This is why taking the time for regular eye exams is so important. You may not notice any symptoms of glaucoma until the permanent damage has already been done, but an eye doctor will be able to look out for specific signs during your eye exam. A doctor will also be able to assess your risk factors for glaucoma as well as other eye and vision related conditions. Eye exams and glaucoma screenings could quite literally save your vision.
After learning more about the dangers of glaucoma, it is best to treat glaucoma preventatively. Schedule an appointment with the experts at Florida Eye Specialists today; we are conveniently located throughout the Jacksonville area. You can reach our office by calling our main line or by submitting an Appointment Request Form on our website.