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.
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.