New year’s wellness goals should absolutely include eye health. As you’re resolving to take the best care possible of your vision this year, you’ll need to know a few things about glaucoma, a disease caused by fluid buildup in the eye that increases pressure and can damage the optic nerve.
January is Glaucoma Awareness Month, and Center For Sight believes knowing the facts about glaucoma will help you make informed decisions about your eye health this 2024. To spread awareness about the number one cause of irreversible vision loss in the U.S., we’re offering up three things you must know.
1. How to prevent glaucoma
The best ways to prevent late-stage progression of glaucoma and to protect your vision are to be aware of your own risk factors and to get regular exams. People over age 40 and/or with a family history of glaucoma are at high risk for developing the eye condition. Those of African, Latino, and Asian descent and those with diabetes are also more at risk.
Our number one tip for catching glaucoma before it impacts your vision is getting your comprehensive dilated eye exam. We wrap this into your yearly “check-up” where we test eye pressure and health, and you should plan to have your eyes dilated with drops. A wide open, dilated eye is the best for seeing all the way to the optic nerve at the back to check for any signs of damage.
You can take action against glaucoma by asking about your family medical history, maintaining a healthy lifestyle, and going to your eye doctor regularly for your comprehensive dilated eye exams.
2. The first sign of glaucoma
While 3 million Americans have glaucoma, only about half are aware of it. That is because glaucoma is known for developing gradually, without signs, until its later stages where vision loss due to optic nerve damage has already started. The earliest signals that you have glaucoma can only be detected by your optometrist, who tests the pressure in your eye and looks for any damage to the optic nerve. Regular eye exams are important to catch and treat glaucoma early.
Peripheral vision loss is the first visual sign of glaucoma. Patients should seek immediate treatment if they are experiencing loss of peripheral vision, halos around lights, sudden vision loss, pain, or redness, as these are probably caused by glaucoma or another serious eye condition.
3. Glaucoma treatments at Center For Sight
The initial treatment for glaucoma is typically medicated eye drops that alleviate pressure buildup in the eye. Other advanced treatments are also available at Center For Sight to help reduce dependence on eye drops, iStent® or Hydrus Microstent®. These intraocular implants are placed in the eye, and often are implanted at the same time as cataract surgery. The iStent acts as a tiny canal to allow the eye fluid to drain similarly to the way it would naturally. The Hydrus Microstent is intended for a specific type called mild to moderate primary open-angle glaucoma. This stent supports the eye’s drainage canal to allow pressure to decrease.
Talk to your doctor about any concerns or questions you may have about your glaucoma or treatment, and trust Center For Sight’s physicians to help you choose the best option for you and your vision.
Whether it’s time for your next comprehensive dilated eye exam or you’re curious about changes in your glaucoma management, Center For Sight is glad to help you with all your glaucoma-related needs. Schedule an appointment at our online appointment hub.