Glaucoma: Early Warning Signs and Treatment

Statistics show that glaucoma affects more than 3 million Americans. It is the second leading eye disease worldwide that can lead to blindness. The scary thing about this eye disease is that many people do not know they have it until it's too late. That is why people need to get routine eye exams to help detect early signs and symptoms of glaucoma.




What Is Glaucoma, and What Are the Risk Factors?



Glaucoma disease affects the optic nerve of the eyes. The optic nerve is a very sensitive part that can easily damage when the IOP (eye pressure) raises. Without proper treatment, the disease progresses over time and can lead to vision loss.


Glaucoma can affect people of all ages. However, it is more common in older people 60 and above. Anyone can get glaucoma, but people with a family history of glaucoma are more prone to this eye disease.


Other risk factors for glaucoma include:
 

  • Long-term use of steroid medication.
     

  • History of eye injury.
     

  • Extreme farsightedness and nearsightedness.
     

  • High IOP.
     

  • Thinner corneas.
     

  • Medical conditions - sickle cell anemia, migraine, high blood pressure, heart disease, and diabetes.
     

  • Hispanic, Asian, or Black heritage.


The sad thing about glaucoma is that you cannot reverse the damage. The good news is that an experienced eye doctor can stop or slow its progression with proper treatment. 




Signs That Indicate Glaucoma


  • Sudden, Severe Eye Pain
     

Sudden eye pain is the most obvious sign of glaucoma. Eye pain can result from several factors. So if you start experiencing eye pain, do not panic yet. Eye pain associated with glaucoma may cause vomiting, nausea, and redness of the eye. 


Also, the pain is unbearable, so you may have to seek medical attention to relieve the pain. Go to an eye doctor immediately if you start to experience any eye pain to determine the cause of your condition.

 

  • Sensitivity to Light


People with high IOP (eye pressure) often experience sensitivity to light. Sensitivity to light occurs when the light bounces off the cornea abnormally. This happens when the cornea is cloudy, meaning it causes a glare that stops light from regularly getting into the eye. 


Most people ignore this sign because they can still see clearly. However, the condition may get worse without medical attention. Other signs include severe headaches, tunnel vision, patchy blind spots, and seeing halos around lights.




What Happens If You Have Glaucoma?



If your eye doctor diagnoses you with glaucoma early, you stand a chance to slow down its progression and even prevent blindness. Go for continual treatment after diagnosis to manage the disease.


Eye doctors recommend getting regular exams to monitor your IOP. Go for treatments such as prescription eye drops, laser procedures, medications, and sometimes even surgery to lower the pressure in your eye. In case your medication is causing some side effects, report back to your eye doctor immediately.


Do not hesitate to go to your eye doctor if you notice any changes to your vision. Try sleeping with your head elevated to lower your eye pressure. The best way to slow down glaucoma progression is to follow all instructions from your eye doctor to the letter. 




To know more about glaucoma, visit Westchester Eye Care Center at our office in Los Angeles, California. You can call 310-670-1888 today to schedule an appointment.

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