Glaucoma: Silent Cause of Vision Loss

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Glaucoma: Silent Cause of Vision Loss

Glaucoma is a leading cause of blindness in the US with more than 3 million cases, and rising. In fact by the next decade, there is an expected rise of almost 60% in the number of people afflicted with glaucoma. The good news is that early detection can help in preserving vision. Surgical centers that have the ability to conduct a glaucoma surgery are equipped with the necessary technology. 

Glaucoma is six to eight times more common in African Americans than Caucasians, and among the hispanic population glaucoma is the leading cause of blindness. One should try to stay one step ahead of the disease and get regular screening especially if there is a family history of the disease or any vision loss. Today, let’s explore a few things about glaucoma: 


What is Glaucoma? 

Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases that occur when the pressure in the eye exceeds the normal limit thus causing damage to the optic nerve. It’s a progressive disease that worsens over time, and can be inherited. There are many forms of glaucoma but the most common type causes patients to lose their vision starting from the periphery, which is the outside part of the visual field. The ciliary glands in the eye produce aqueous humor which bathes and nourishes the lens. Since the lens and cornea have no blood supply, the aqueous humor performs the blood's job of carrying nutrients to these structures. The aqueous humor is drained out of the eye by the trabecular meshwork, which when clogged causes the pressure to build up in the eye. Since the eyes are a closed compartment, there is no other way for relieving the pressure.

There are two theories that are the most common causes of glaucoma. The first is the vascular theory and the second is the physical theory. The former refers to decreased blood flow in the optic nerve because of high pressure, and the latter refers to the destruction of individual nerve fibers over time because of high pressure. 


High Risk Group: 

Anyone can get glaucoma but people over 60, family history of glaucoma, diabetes, and African Americans have a greater risk of developing this disease. Early detection and treatment is key to preventing glaucoma, especially for people who are in the high risk group. 


How to Prevent Vision Loss? 

Since glaucoma is a progressive disease, it takes time to develop and for the increased pressure to cause damage. Early examination can help catch glaucoma at an early stage. Prescription eye drops can slow the progression of glaucoma, and delay if not prevent a visit to a surgical center!

People in the high risk group should get tested at least once a year for glaucoma. Maintaining a healthy body weight, keeping control on blood pressure, staying physically active, and avoiding smoking are a few more ways to avoid vision loss from glaucoma. WoW Health has a listing of surgical centers that cater to eye diseases. 

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