January is Glaucoma Awareness Month, a time dedicated to educating patients about glaucoma, the leading cause of blindness. Research has found about 10% of people with glaucoma fail to recognize the symptoms until it is too late to save their vision.
Glaucoma is a disease that does not discriminate. Everyone is at risk, and early detection is the key to effective treatment. It’s essential to know the signs and symptoms of glaucoma.
What Is Glaucoma?
Glaucoma is an umbrella term for eye conditions that affect the optic nerve, responsible for sending visual signals to the brain for interpretation. Glaucoma can affect anyone at any age, but it is the leading cause of blindness for people over 60.
What Causes Glaucoma?
Glaucoma describes a group of conditions that damage the optic nerve. The cause of that damage can vary. Elevated eye pressure is the most common cause. If fluid builds up in the eye, it can put too much pressure on the optic nerve, eventually damaging it and causing complete vision loss.
The most common form of glaucoma is open-angle, which occurs when the drainage system in the eye fails. The other forms include closed-angle glaucoma, congenital glaucoma, and secondary glaucoma.
What Are the Symptoms of Glaucoma?
There are several forms of glaucoma, some with no symptoms at all. You might have:
- Patchy blind spots, especially in your side or peripheral vision
- Severe headache
- Eye pain
- Blurred vision
- Colored rings around lights
- Eye redness and irritation
If you experience sudden changes in your vision, severe headaches, or eye pain, schedule an appointment with your eye doctor immediately.
What Can You Do To Reduce Your Risk of Glaucoma?
The most effective way to reduce your risk of vision loss from glaucoma is to see your eye doctor regularly. The American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) recommends you make an appointment yearly for a comprehensive eye exam if you are over 65. However, if you are at a higher risk of developing glaucoma, you should schedule eye exams annually, regardless of age.
Schedule Glaucoma Testing From Dr. Jeffrey Maehara, MD
Dr. Jeffrey Maehara is a board-certified ophthalmologist specializing in eye care to support vision throughout your life. Call 808-955-3937 or go online to schedule your appointment today and stay ahead of glaucoma.