Prevent Glaucoma with Early Detection

Glaucoma is serious eye disease that can damage the eye's optic nerve and result in vision loss and blindness. It is one of the main causes of blindness in the United States. However, with early detection and treatment, we can often protect our eyes against serious vision loss. The best way to control glaucoma is to have our eyes examined through dilated pupils every year by an Ophthalmologist.

The eye is a closed structure. A clear liquid produced by the eye circulates in the front portion of the eye. This is an internal fluid not to be confused with tears. If the drainage area for the eye is blocked, the excess fluid cannot flow out of the eye. The result is an increase of pressure in the eye.

Increased fluid pressure can cause damage to the optic nerve resulting in Glaucoma. There are two forms of this disease. These are:

Increased fluid pressure can cause damage to the optic nerve. There are two forms of this disease. These are:

  • Chronic open-angle is the most common form in the United States. The risk of developing this form increases with age. The drainage becomes less efficient over time. Fluid build-up in the eye increases and with it pressure, which can damage the optic nerve. Detection and treatment are necessary to prevent loss of vision.
  • The open-angle form has no symptoms in its early stages. With time the optic nerve can become more damaged and blank spots begin to appear in your field of vision. By the time these are noticed, serious damage to the optic nerve may have occurred. If all the optic nerve fibers die, blindness results.

  • Closed-angle. Sometimes eyes are formed with the iris too close to the drainage angle. In these eyes the iris can be pushed forward blocking the drainage channel completely. Since the fluid cannot exit the eye, pressure in the eye builds very rapidly and causes an acute closed-angle attack. Two-thirds of people with the closed-angle condition develop it slowly without any symptoms prior to an acute closed-angle attack. Quick treatment is then necessary to prevent blindness. Warnings of an impending attack may include: blurred vision; severe eye pain; headache; nausea; and halos around lights. If you have any of these symptoms, call your ophthalmologist immediately.

Anyone can develop glaucoma. Some people are at higher risk than others. Risk factors include the following:

  • Age
  • Elevated eye pressure
  • Family history
  • African Americans over age 40
  • Everyone over age 60, especially Mexican Americans
  • Farsightedness or nearsightedness
  • Past eye injuries
  • Systemic health problems, including diabetes, migraine headaches, and poor circulation.

A screening that checks only the pressure of the eye is not sufficient. A comprehensive dilated eye exam is needed and can reveal more risk factors, such as high eye pressure, thinness of the cornea, and abnormal optic nerve anatomy. Early detection is the key to protect your vision.

For references and suggested reading:

  • "eye disease." Encyclopedia Britannica. Encyclopedia Britannica Ultimate Reference Suite. Chicago: Encyclopedia Britannica, 2011.
  • Go to retirement resources.

Return to Home Page

Return from glaucoma to healthy eyes

If you found this page useful, please give it a LIKE and share it with someone you care about.

Disclaimer and goal

In the end it's not the years in your life that count but the life in your years. Abraham  Lincoln

New! Comments

Like to comment on what you just read? Leave me a comment in the box below.