While there are no known ways to prevent glaucoma, early detection through annual comprehensive eye exams can help identify early warning signs of the eye condition and help protect your vision from progressive damage caused by glaucoma.
Glaucoma is a complicated disease that slowly damages the optic nerve in the back of your eye, leading to progressive, irreversible vision loss. There are several forms of the disease, but the most common type in the United States is open-angle glaucoma, which is an imbalance in the production and drainage of the clear fluid that fills the eye between the cornea and iris.
This fluid imbalance leads to pressure inside the eye that pushes against the optic nerve, eventually causing irreversible damage.
Since glaucoma generally has no initial symptoms, pressure in the eye builds up gradually until the optic nerve is damaged and peripheral vision is lost. In later stages of glaucoma, people may bump into doorways or not see a car in a passing lane because their peripheral vision is significantly affected. To see what it can look like to experience glaucoma, check out our Eye Disease Simulator.
A less common form of the disease called angle-closure glaucoma is caused by a blocked drainage canal, resulting in a sudden rise in eye pressure that can develop very quickly. The symptoms and damage of this type tend to be more noticeable and may include eye pain, nausea and vomiting (accompanying severe eye pain), blurred vision or vision loss, and more.
Are you at risk for glaucoma?
According to CDC, you may be at higher risk for glaucoma if you:
• Have diabetes
• Have a family history of glaucoma
• Are 40 and older and African American
• Are 60 and older
Can glaucoma be treated?
Although vision already lost to the disease cannot be restored, glaucoma can be treated with medication or surgery to slow or prevent further vision loss.
Can glaucoma be prevented?
While there are no known ways to prevent glaucoma, early detection through annual comprehensive eye exams can help identify early warning signs of the eye condition and help protect your vision from progressive damage caused by glaucoma. During a comprehensive eye exam, your eye doctor will inspect your intraocular pressure and examine your optic nerve. If your eye pressure is elevated or your optic nerve looks suspicious, your provider will likely perform scans of your retina and optic nerve to find out if you have glaucoma. Schedule your annual comprehensive eye exam today at a VSP® Premier Program location near you!
See Well. Be Well.® If you haven’t already, take advantage of your COSE member benefit and opt-in to VSP vision insurance. Contact your COSE sales representative or broker for more info.
Information received through VSP Vision Care channels is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice, medical recommendations, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your eye doctor, physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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