Understanding Glaucoma

January is National Glaucoma Awareness Month, a month devoted to bringing awareness to not only the disease itself but to the importance of health literacy as it pertains to your vision.

Did you know the leading cause of vision loss and blindness across the country is Glaucoma? Though a higher risk for African Americans and Hispanics over 40, Glaucoma can touch any and everyone, especially over the age of 60 and for those with a family history of Glaucoma.

Glaucoma often times is the result of high pressure inside your eye which causes damage to your optic nerve and creates risk for vision loss or even blindness. If caught in time, the effects of this disease can be maintained and further damage can be prevented.

The most common type of Glaucoma is open-angle glaucoma. This is when the eye’s drainage canals become clogged over time, causing internal eye pressure and resulting damage to the optic nerve. Open-angle glaucoma has no pre-warning signs or symptoms with the exception of gradual vision loss. This being the case, the best defense for this form of Glaucoma is through annual eye exams with your specialist, as they will be able to monitor your eye health comprehensively.

The second type and more severe form of this disease is narrow angle-closure Glaucoma. This type occurs more suddenly when fluid accumulates behind the iris creating a buildup and inciting rapid pressure. If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, see your eye doctor immediately:

  • severe eye pain
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • redness in your eye
  • sudden vision disturbances
  • seeing colored rings around lights
  • sudden blurred vision

Treatment for Glaucoma usually starts with prescribed eye drops then if not effective, transitions to more advanced treatment. That could include medication or more seriously, surgery. Unfortunately this disease can’t be prevented nor can it be cured but it can be managed and measures can be taken to decrease the strengths of its effects. Contact Hamilton Community Health Network today to schedule an exam with any of our qualified specialists, 810-406-4246.

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