Understanding Glaucoma and the Risk Associated With the Disease

Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases that cause damage to the optic nerve. The condition is the most prevalent cause of blindness and vision loss in the United States. Here at Advanced Eye Care Associates in Providence, RI, the primary goal of our optometry team is to educate our patients about glaucoma and develop an eye care plan to help them protect their vision.

Risk Factors

The primary risk for damage to the optic nerve is eye pressure caused by fluid that drains too slowly through the drainage angle of the eye, and the buildup of fluid. Another important risk factor associated with glaucoma is hypertension. Optometrists recommend people who have been diagnosed with high blood pressure follow up with their health care provider on a regular basis and see an eye doctor at least once a year. Maintaining healthy and controlled blood pressure levels plays an essential role in protecting the eyes from glaucoma.

It should be noted that people can develop glaucoma without their eye pressures increasing. This type of glaucoma is called normal tension glaucoma. Anyone is susceptible to the development of glaucoma; however, there are some groups of people who are at higher risk than others. Some of these groups include African Americans over 40 years of age, anyone with a family history of glaucoma, anyone over the age of 60 and Mexican Americans over 60 years of age.

Unknown Damage

Most people make the assumption that they would be able to detect if something was wrong with their vision. In regard to open-angle glaucoma, this is not the case. At the onset of the disease, the vision remains normal, and there is no pain. As the disease progresses the peripheral vision gradually diminishes. People describe their vision as though they are looking through a tunnel. As time progresses the central vision decreases to the point that it is completely gone if glaucoma is not treated. 

Be Vigilant

The optometry team here at Advanced Eye Care Associates in Providence, RI, can’t stress enough the importance of people having yearly eye exams with an optometrist. Our doctors also urge you to see an eye doctor as quickly as you can if you experience any of the following: eye pain, excessive burning, itching, redness, loss of vision, an eye injury or any sign of vision loss. Give our office a call to schedule an appointment today at 401-343-0347.

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