A glaucoma is a group of eye conditions where there is damage to the optic nerve and peripheral (side) vision is affected. Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of blindness for people over the age of 60 but can also affect younger adults. This condition is progressive and irreversible.
Many forms of glaucoma have no warning signs and the deterioration may be so gradual that you may not notice a change in vision until the condition is at an advanced stage. There are different types of glaucoma and they all vary in their presentations.
- Open-angle glaucoma
- Angle-closure glaucoma
- Normal-tension glaucoma
- Pigmentary glaucoma
There are several risk factors for getting glaucoma. Some of these include:
- Having high internal eye pressure (intraocular pressure)
- Being over age 60
- Ethnicity: Black, Asian or Hispanic
- Having a family history of glaucoma
- Having certain medical conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and sickle cell anemia
- Having corneas that are thin in the center
- Being extremely near-sighted or far-sighted
- Having had an eye injury or certain types of eye surgeries
- Taking corticosteroid medications, especially eyedrops, for a long time
It is important to have regular eye exams with your Optometrist that include measurements of your eye pressure and eye nerve health so a diagnosis can be made in its early stages and treated appropriately. If glaucoma is recognized early, vision loss can be slowed or even prevented. If you have the condition, you will generally need treatment for the rest of your life.