Early Detection Critical to Treating Glaucoma

Early Detection Critical to Treating Glaucoma

Advanced Eyecare Professionals and the American Academy of Ophthalmology remind the public of the importance of eye exams

Glaucoma is a major cause of vision loss worldwide. It affects more than 3 million people in the United States—nearly half of whom are unaware they have the disease. During Glaucoma Awareness Month in January, Advanced Eyecare Professionals (AEP) joins the American Academy of Ophthalmology in reminding the public that early detection and treatment can help protect your sight.

Glaucoma damages the optic nerve, which transmits visual information from the retina to the brain. “In many cases, Glaucoma starts symptomless to patients and has no warning signs. However, permanent, irreversible vision loss can already be taking place,” says Michael Flohr, M.D., an ophthalmologist with the AEP eye care team.

The Academy recommends that everyone have a comprehensive eye exam, and if you have never had one, to for sure have one at the age of 40. This exam provides ophthalmologists – physicians who specialize in medical and surgical eye care – an opportunity to carefully examine the eye including the optic nerve for signs of damage and other possible problems that may affect vision. Individuals at greater risk for developing glaucoma include people:

  • over age 40;
  • of African, Asian or Hispanic heritage;
  • who have high eye pressure detected during an eye exam;
  • who are farsighted or nearsighted;
  • who have experienced eye trauma or eye injury;
  • whose corneas are thin in the center;
  • or who have health problems such as diabetes, migraines, high blood pressure or poor blood circulation.

Appropriate treatment for glaucoma depends on the specific type and severity of the disease. Medicated eye drops or laser treatments are the most common initial approach. These techniques work by lowering eye pressure to reduce the amount of fluid in the eye, and by increasing fluid outflow from the eye.

“Detecting glaucoma early is possible during the testing performed in a routine eye exam,” says David Harrell, M.D., an AEP eye care team ophthalmologist. “For this reason, annual eye examinations are vital. Vision loss due to glaucoma cannot be restored. However, if glaucoma is detected early, there are excellent treatments to prevent damage from progressing and preserving vision.”

For more information on glaucoma or other eye conditions and diseases, call our office.

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