Ophthalmic Consultants of Connecticut

YOUR GLAUCOMA QUESTIONS, ANSWERED

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.

FIVE TIPS TO HELP PREVENT MACULAR DEGENERATION

Throughout the month of February, ophthalmologists around the nation are working to raise awareness of macular degeneration, an eye disease that affects central vision and is the leading cause of blindness among Americans age 65 and older. While there is no known cure for macular degeneration, there are ways to reduce one’s risk of developing the disease. In honor of National Macular Degeneration Awareness Month, we share five ways you can reduce your risk of developing the eye condition.

Don’t Smoke

Not only is smoking terrible for your overall health, it can increase your risk of developing eye diseases, including macular degeneration. In fact, one study found smokers are up to four times more likely to develop macular degeneration than non-smokers!

Eat a Balanced Diet

When it comes to healthy eyes, nutrition matters. According to research, eating the right foods can help decrease your risk of certain eye conditions, including cataracts and macular degeneration. A healthy balanced diet should include vegetables rich in lutein and zeaxanthin, two key nutrients for eye health. Eating foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids (e.g., cold water fish, walnuts and flaxseed) can also prevent macular degeneration or slow down its progression.

Exercise Regularly

According a study from the British Journal of Ophthalmology, regular exercise can reduce your risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) by as much as 70 percent. Exercising regularly is also beneficial in controlling blood pressure and cholesterol, which in turn can help prevent macular degeneration.

Wear Sunglasses Year Round

Research shows long-term eye damage caused by overexposure to the sun can lead to macular degeneration. Safeguard your eyes by wearing sunglasses that offer 100 percent UV protection while outdoors, even during cloudy weather.

Schedule an Eye Exam

While there is no cure yet for macular degeneration, regular eye exams can help detect the condition in its early stages, when it is easier to manage. The goal is to slow its progression and help prolong your vision. The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends that people between the ages of 45 and 60 have a dilated eye exam every two or three years and those over 60 should have an eye exam every year.

To learn more about macular degeneration, including how to detect and manage it, contact the Ophthalmologists Consultants of Connecticut. Please contact us today.