Glaucoma is an eye disease that affects millions of Americans over the age of 60. It is the number one cause of blindness in adults. If caught in time, however, it can be treated, and further development can be prevented. Call AFC Urgent Care Methuen for any general health questions or concerns. If you fall into a risk factor category for glaucoma, visit our center for a diagnosis and recommendations.
Symptoms of Glaucoma
Glaucoma affects your optic nerve, which over time affects your vision and can lead to total blindness. It happens due to pressure in the eye increasing. Without regular eye exams, it can be difficult to diagnose glaucoma before vision loss has begun to occur. You may experience patches of vision loss or blind spots. If you begin experiencing the following symptoms, you should seek medical attention from an eye doctor:
- Pain in the eye or forehead, including headache
- Redness in the eye
- Decreased or blurred vision
- Seeing rainbows or halos
Eye pressure increases due to fluids not being drained properly. If your family medical history includes glaucoma, you are more likely to develop it yourself. This is why routine eye exams are crucial to your overall health.
Potential Risk Factors
There are a variety of risk factors for glaucoma. It is important to keep them in mind since symptoms are often not present until it is too late. Risk factors include:
- Being over 60 years old
- Having high internal eye pressure
- Having a family history of glaucoma
- Being near or farsighted
- Having a previous eye injury
Be sure to share all potential risk factors with a medical provider. Having more than one of these risks puts you at the highest risk for developing glaucoma.
Prevention and Treatment Options Available
Getting regular eye exams and speaking with a doctor is the best way to prevent developing glaucoma. Exams should become more frequent the older you get, but always listen to the medical provider for recommendations. Wear eye protection when using certain machinery or participating in something that can potentially damage your eyes. Having an injury puts you at higher risk.
The most common form of treatment is eye drops. It’s essential to take them as recommended to help reduce overall eye pressure. There are a few different types of eye drops that depend on the level of development and how high the eye pressure is. Some of these medications have side effects, so be sure to disclose all current prescriptions if you are taking any.
Surgery is also a common option depending on severity. Laser surgery can be conducted at the eye doctor’s office. Follow-up exams will be necessary to make sure the surgery worked, and the disease is not still developing.