Glaucoma Awareness Month
One of your most important senses is vision. As January is Glaucoma Awareness Month, Harbin Clinic wants to share important information about what glaucoma is, how to seek diagnosis and when necessary, treatment.
What is Glaucoma?
Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases that damage the optic nerve. The optic nerve is a structure in each eye that carries images from your eyes to your brain. As nerve damage progressively worsens, vision loss can occur.
The two main classes of glaucoma are open-angle and closed-angle glaucoma; both typically show an increase in pressure inside the eye. However, some patients with glaucoma never experience high pressure, further making the disease more difficult to detect.
In the United States, open-angle glaucoma is the most common type, accounting for 90% of all cases.
What are the Risk Factors?
Glaucoma can severely damage your eye before symptoms become apparent. Therefore, it is critical to be aware of the risk factors. Glaucoma can be hereditary, so if a close relative has glaucoma, you are at a higher risk. Individuals are also at higher risk if they are:
- On long-term steroid treatment including nasal sprays.
- Over the age of 65.
- Of Asian, Black or Hispanic descent.
- Have a history of blunt eye trauma.
- Have a history of high eye pressure on a previous exam.
Individuals do not typically experience symptoms with glaucoma except vision loss. Vision loss can occur without pain or other warning signs. Therefore, it is important to schedule regular eye exams even if you feel your vision is fine.
A few actions can be taken to aid in the early detection of glaucoma and guard against vision loss. These include regular eye exams, knowledge of your family’s eye history, protective eyewear to avoid trauma, and the use of physician-prescribed eye drops, when appropriate, to lower the risk of elevated intraocular pressure.
If I need care, who will I see?
Ophthalmologists and optometrists are doctors who have advanced training in diagnosing and treating patients who have a wide range of eye conditions and diseases. The Harbin Clinic Eye Center’s team of ophthalmologists and optometrists work together to provide patients with comprehensive and integrated care. Our eye care team provides our patients with world-class care throughout every stage of their treatment journey.
Are you interested in glaucoma health or concerned you may be at risk? The Harbin Clinic Eye Center is here to help. Learn more at harbinclinic.com/eyecare.
Content updated January 2024