According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, approximately 3 million Americans have glaucoma, an eye disease that causes vision loss and even blindness. Glaucoma is often referred to as the “silent thief of sight” because many people experience little to no symptoms during the early stages of the disease. If you believe you are experiencing vision loss caused by glaucoma, the Ophthalmic Consultants of Connecticut can help. In this blog post, we answer commonly asked questions regarding the eye disease.
What is Glaucoma?
Glaucoma is a disease that damages the eye’s optic nerve and usually occurs when fluid builds up in the front part of the eye. The extra fluid increases the pressure in the eye, damaging the optic nerve. If the nerve fibers in your eye are permanently damaged, vision is lost. If left untreated, blindness may occur.
There are two major types of glaucoma, open-angle glaucoma and narrow-angle glaucoma. Open-angle glaucoma occurs when the drainage channel has been damaged, leading to fluid pressure in the eye. Narrow-angle glaucoma is a rare form of the disease that occurs when something blocks or covers the eye’s drainage channel.
What are Common Symptoms?
Open-angle glaucoma typically has no initial symptoms. The condition often progresses undetected until the optic nerve already has been irreversibly damaged, leading to permanent vision loss.
On the other hand, narrow angle glaucoma occurs suddenly and has noticeable symptoms including blurry vision, halos, intense eye pain, nausea and vomiting.
Am I at Risk?
You may be at higher risk for glaucoma if you:
- Are over the age of 35
- Are African-American
- Are diabetic
- Are extremely nearsighted
- Have elevated eye pressure
- Have a family history of glaucoma
Can Glaucoma be Prevented?
Research has shown there are several factors that can reduce one’s risk of developing the disease. Regular exercise paired with a healthy, balanced diet rich in vitamin C and omega-3 fatty acids can protect your eyesight and protect against eye diseases such as glaucoma. Additionally, numerous studies have found smoking can increase the risk of developing glaucoma and other eye diseases.
How Can Glaucoma be Treated?
While glaucoma has no cure, early detection and treatment can help preserve your vision. In its early stages, glaucoma can be treated with prescription eye drops and medication to lower eye pressure. The Ophthalmic Consultants of Connecticut offer both traditional and laser surgery to minimize vision loss and prolong your eyesight. Speak to a member of our team to learn more about treatment options. Contact us today to schedule a personal appointment.