Glaucoma is an eye disease that causes an increase of pressure in the eye, which leads to optic nerve damage, resulting in gradual loss of peripheral vision. There are sevearl types of glaucoma, but the most common, open-angle glaucoma, does not cause any pain or symptoms. For this reason, glaucoma is known as the sneak thief of sight as often the disease has progressed quite far before it is diagnosed.
Glaucoma can affect anyone, so it's important to be screened regularly by your eye care provider. There are a number of risk factors that can increase your chances of developing glaucoma such as:
- Family history of glaucoma
- African American or Latino
- Over the age of 45
- If you smoke
- If you have diabetes
- If you have suffered previous traumatic eye injury
The two images above depict what your vision would look like with glaucoma. In order to prevent vision loss from occurring, early detection is key. This is why it is important to schedule regular visits with your eye care provider. There are several ways to detect glaucoma during an eye exam. Encourage your friends and family to be screened, too!
Visual Field Test -- during this test, patients click a remote when they see a light flicker in different areas of their vision. This helps determine if there has been any loss of peripheral (side) vision.
Dilated Eye Exam - this will allow your eye doctor to see if there has been damage to your optic nerve, an indicator of glaucoma.
Tonometry - this test gauges your intraocular pressure to ensure it is a safe left much like making sure your tires are not over-inflated.
View Glaucoma treatment options.