No Symptoms, Big Problems in Open Angle Glaucoma
- Posted on: Feb 21 2014
Maybe you or your family member was recently diagnosed with open angle glaucoma and now you are wondering, “What is glaucoma? What does this mean for my future? Is there a treatment or cure for open angle glaucoma?”
Open angle glaucoma usually occurs when increased pressure inside the eye, known as intraocular pressure, damages the optic nerve responsible for transmitting images to the eye. Although the eyeball may be healthy, if the optic nerve is damaged, permanent vision loss is possible.
Although open angle glaucoma can be easily diagnosed, it is estimated that only half of the 2.2 million Americans who have the disease know it. Open Angle Glaucoma often presents no symptoms in the early stages. Only when the disease progresses into later stages, does it begin to damage vision, and unfortunately, glaucoma can often lead to blindness if not properly treated.
Because most people experience no symptoms in early stages of glaucoma, it is important to understand your risk level and visit with your eye doctor regularly to screen for the condition. Open Angle Glaucoma is especially prevalent in people over the age of 40 or with a history of the disease. Other risk factors include:
- Increased intraocular pressure.
- African-American, Asian, or Japanese descent.
- Certain medical conditions, including diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and hypothyroidism.
- Retinal detachment.
- Inflammation of the eye.
- Nearsighted or farsightedness.
- Long-term corticosteroid use.
Sadly, most people with open angle glaucoma do not realize they have the disease until they have already lost a lot of vision. In beginning stages of glaucoma, loss of peripheral vision is common. However, because we often do not use this vision, we may not recognize this sign.
To prevent vision loss due to open angle glaucoma, it is necessary to receive routine dilated eye exams from an eye doctor. Tests for glaucoma are painless and take as little as 15 minutes of your time. So, don’t delay! Once you lose your vision from glaucoma, there is nothing your doctor can do to bring it back. Schedule your annual dilated eye exam with Georgia Eye Partners today!