Glaucoma- The Silent Thief of Sight
Glaucoma is the second-leading cause of blindness in the world. It can, however, be effectively treated if caught early. Glaucoma is often referred to as a “silent thief of sight” because even though it is estimated that the disease affects over 4 million Americans, only half of them actually know that they have it.
Glaucoma is a common disease with increased age, although it can sometimes develop in children and young adults. It is typically characterized by abnormally high intraocular pressure that causes damage to the optic nerve and retina creating blind spots in the field of vision.
There are two types: open-angle and acute closed-angle glaucoma. Early symptoms of open-angle glaucoma often go undetected because the changes in vision are so gradual they go unnoticed until significant loss has occurred. Peripheral vision is usually affected first, but later central vision will be affected as well. Headaches and difficulty with night vision may also be noticed. If left untreated the disease will progress to total blindness. Patients experiencing acute closed-angle glaucoma will experience more noticeable symptoms, which can include: severe pain, blurred vision, nausea and halos around lights. This condition has a sudden onset (acute) and requires quick treatment to prevent permanent damage.
Most of the time, glaucoma is detected during a routine eye exam. Unfortunately, the disease cannot be cured and vision loss from glaucoma cannot be reversed. However, with early detection and treatment, this disease can almost always be controlled and vision preserved. This is why regular eye exams are especially important for people over 35, or those in other high-risk groups. Treatment can range from eye drops to surgery, with the goal being to control the intraocular pressure.
To find out more about glaucoma or its treatments, call our Staten Island or East Brunswick, NJ office today and schedule an exam.