You may have been told that you have glaucoma or that you are at risk for this eye disease.How will it affect your life?Although glaucoma can cause blindness, it doesn't have to.Early detection and treatment can prevent vision loss. Read on to learn more.
Types of Glaucoma
There are two main types of glaucoma:
- Open-angle glaucoma worsens slowly. It has no symptoms except for gradual vision loss. It often affects both eyes.
- Closed-angle glaucoma results in sudden, intense eye pain. Most often, only one eye is affected at a time.
The Importance of Treatment
Glaucoma is a common cause of blindness. Vision that is lost from glaucoma can never be restored. But sight can be saved if glaucoma is detected early. Checking your eyes for glaucoma and seeking early treatment can help you keep your sight.
Who is at Risk?
Certain factors raise your risk for glaucoma. They include:
- Getting older
- Being African-American, Asian, or Native Alaskan
- Having a close relative with glaucoma
- Being very nearsighted or farsighted
- Having diabetes, heart disease, or high blood pressure
- Long-term use of steroids or cortisone
- Having had an injury, disease, or tumor in the eye
How is Glaucoma treated?
Glaucoma can be treated with eye drops, oral medications, laser procedures, and surgery. You and your eye doctor will decide which options are best for you. Treating glaucoma early is key to saving your sight. But, like most medical care, glaucoma treatment has certain risks and possible complications. Talk to your eye doctor about any questions or concerns you have.
What can I do?
Take these steps to save your sight:
- Have your eyes checked each year, or as often as your eye doctor suggests.
- Find out if there's a glaucoma screening program near you. Many hospitals, community centers, and churches sponsor screenings.
- Learn more about glaucoma and how it can affect your sight.
- If you have glaucoma, work with your eye doctor to follow your treatment plan.