We hope your 2021 brought lots of joy and that 2022 will be the best year yet! Start 2022 off on a positive note with great vision! January is Glaucoma Awareness Month. Did you know that glaucoma is one of the leading causes of blindness? Over 3 million Americans have the condition, but only half of those people know it. It often has no symptoms, especially in its early stages. This is why it is commonly called “the silent thief of sight.” Since there are often no symptoms, early detection is key, and scheduling an annual comprehensive eye exam is extremely important. All comprehensive eye exams at Cargo Eye Care include a glaucoma screening.
Many ask if there is a cure for glaucoma, and unfortunately, there isn’t. However, there are a number of medications and surgical options that can slow the side effects or even bring them to a halt.
Estimates put the total number of suspected cases at over 60 million worldwide, and, according to The National Eye Institute, the number of Americans affected by glaucoma will reach 4.2 million by 2030, which is a significant increase.
Are You at Risk?
You may be wondering if you are at risk for glaucoma. Everyone is at risk. However, people over the age of 60 and African Americans over 40 are more at risk. If you have a family history of glaucoma, you are at a higher risk. If you are African American or have African American ancestry, you are 15 times more likely to develop the condition.
Other high-risk groups include people with diabetes and those who are severely nearsighted.
Types of Glaucoma
There are two types of glaucoma: open-angle and angle-closure. Open-angle is the most common form of glaucoma, accounting for at least 90% of all glaucoma cases. It is caused by the slow clogging of the drainage canals, resulting in increased eye pressure. This specific type of glaucoma develops slowly and is a lifelong condition. Since it is the most common form of glaucoma, it affects about 3 million Americans.
Angle-closure glaucoma may be less common; however, it develops quickly and demands immediate medical attention. It is caused by blocked drainage canals, resulting in a sudden rise in intraocular pressure.
So, what’s the difference between open-angle glaucoma and angle-closure glaucoma? Open-angle has a wide and open angle between the iris and cornea, while angle-closure has a closed or narrow angle between the iris and cornea. Open-angle has symptoms and damage that are not noticed, while angle-closure has symptoms and damage that are usually very noticeable.
Possible Symptoms of Glaucoma
While there are typically no symptoms of glaucoma, angle-closure type has more noticeable symptoms. These include hazy or blurred vision, severe eye and head pain, nausea or vomiting (accompanying severe eye pain), the appearance of rainbow-colored circles around bright lights, or sudden sight loss. Another common symptom is eye pressure that often gets mistaken as headaches or migraines.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, schedule your appointment with us today to seek treatment options.
Regular Eye Exams the Best Way to Safeguard Your Sight
Dr. Patel recently performed an annual comprehensive eye exam on a patient and found that his intraocular eye pressure was higher than it should be:
He was put on a pressure lowering eye drop and was asked to come back for some follow-up testing. The testing revealed that he, in fact, did have glaucoma. We educated the patient on the nature of the condition and a treatment plan was designed. He informed us at that visit that he did some digging and found out that he had a family history as well! Though it was more than he anticipated to find out at his routine eye exam, he was thankful that we were able to preserve his vision for many more years to come.
Your Vision is Our Passion!
At Cargo Eye Care, we know that excellent vision results depend on distinctive patient care. We understand that everyone has their own unique vision needs. Our patients’ health is our #1 priority.