Risk factors for glaucoma and what you can do about them

Glaucoma is an age-related eye disease where increased pressure in the eye damages your eye’s optic nerves, getting worse over time. Too often, the people who have the most common type of glaucoma do not have any warning signs. By the time they notice symptoms, it’s usually in the later stages of the disease. Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of blindness for people age 60 and older. Read on for risk factors and what you can do to reduce your risk factors and protect your vision.

In healthy eyes, fluid is produced in the ciliary body, enters the eye and drains through tiny passages called the trabecular meshwork. If you have glaucoma, these passages become blocked and pressure in the eye rises.

What are the risk factors?

Risk factors for glaucoma include:

  • Ancestry is African American, Irish, Japanese, Hispanic, Russian, Inuit or Scandinavian descent
  • Over the age of 40
  • Family history of glaucoma
  • High blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes or sickle cell anemia
  • Poor vision
  • Eye injury
  • Corneas are thinner than usual
  • High eye pressure
  • Nearsighted or farsighted

 Can I prevent glaucoma?

 You can help slow the progress of glaucoma or detect it in its early stages by doing the following:

  • Get comprehensive eye exams. You should get one every 5-10 years if you’re younger than 40; every 2-4 years for those ages 40-54; everyone 1-3 years for those ages 55-64; and every 1-2 years for those 65 and older. If you’re at risk of glaucoma, you’ll need more frequent screening. Your doctor can recommend the right screening schedule for you.
  • Regular exercise can help prevent glaucoma by reducing eye pressure. Ask your doctor for recommendations.
  • Know your family health history. Glaucoma tends to run in families, so you may need more frequent screening if you are at increased risk.
  • Wear eye protection. Eye injuries can lead to eye conditions and diseases such as glaucoma, so protect your eyes when playing certain sports or using power tools.

 Glaucoma treatment

Some cases can be treated with medication. Other cases may require laser or traditional surgery to lower eye pressure.

Regular eye exams will help you stay on top of any eye conditions or diseases so you can address them at the earliest, most treatable stages. Call 808.955.3937 today to schedule an appointment at Maehara Eye Surgery & Laser.

Under Pressure: How to Treat Glaucoma With SLT

glaucomaGlaucoma is one of the leading causes of blindness in the United States. By placing a high amount of pressure on your eyes, glaucoma can cause obscured vision and even blindness if left untreated. Luckily, Dr. Jeffrey Maehara has a variety of different treatment options for glaucoma. As one of the options that he likes to use most, Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty or SLT, targets specific eye cells to increase the fluid in your eye and reduce the pressure. Read on to learn more about SLT and whether or not it’s a viable option for you.

What Is SLT?

As previously mentioned, SLT targets eye cells to increase the fluid in your eye while simultaneously releasing pressure. Specifically, Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty’s unique laser system targets cells containing melanin, a natural pigment found in the eye.

What Is Recovery Like?

With any procedure, one of the scariest parts for a patient to think about is the recovery. Because SLT is a non-invasive, pain-free surgical procedure, the recovery should be fast and easy. During your recovery and depending on how your surgery has gone, you may be treated with anti-inflammatory eye drops.

What Are Results Like?

One of the best parts about SLT is that your eye pressure can drop in just a day or two following the procedure— leaving you with real results in virtually no time at all. Additionally, not only are your results fast, but they should also last. Although more pressure can build up in your eyes, it’s not as likely to occur when it’s taken care of early on.

Having glaucoma isn’t something you want to brag about. By causing pressure in your eyes, if left untreated, glaucoma can cause permanent eye damage. And, the worst part about glaucoma is that there isn’t a cure for it yet. Luckily, with treatments like SLT, you can prevent the symptoms from getting worse. If you would like to learn more about SLT or other treatments, contact Dr. Jeffrey Maehara today!