Dr. Jim Martin 06/09/2014

blog-img2.pngGlaucoma refers to a group of eye conditions that can result in optic nerve damage. It can eventually lead to blindness. As glaucoma has no symptoms, many people do not know they have it until the disease has reached an advanced stage. The advanced stages of glaucoma can include slow vision changes, ocular pressure buildup in the eye, nerve damage, tunnel vision and even blindness. In order to detect the disease early and get proper treatment, schedule regular eye exams with a trained eye doctor.

Family history and additional risk factors

The treatment of glaucoma starts by narrowing down risk factors and understanding their underlying causes. The following warning signs and risk factors make it easier to identify and treat in a timely fashion.

Ethnicity, heredity and family history. African-Americans have a genetic predisposition for glaucoma. Individuals who have a family history of glaucoma should schedule full eye exams with an eye doctor on a regular basis.

Age. People age 45 and older have a heightened risk of developing glaucoma.

Medical conditions. People who are diabetic, nearsighted, have a history of smoking or who have suffered previous eye injuries are also more likely to develop glaucoma.

Chemical or substance exposure. There are a number of chemicals and substances, such as cortisone and steroids, that can increase the risk for glaucoma.

Types of glaucoma

There are two primary types of glaucoma:

Open-angle or wide-angle glaucoma. This prevalent glaucoma type involves a normal eye structure appearance. However, the eye fluid cannot flow properly through the trabecular meshwork, causing the pressure in the eye to build up.

Angle-closure glaucoma. This less frequently-occurring type of glaucoma is also known as acute or narrow-angle glaucoma. It can result in the abrupt onset of eye pressure buildup. This buildup can include weak drainage due to the angle between the cornea and iris being too narrow.

Types of tests used to diagnose or find glaucoma

The tests used to identify glaucoma are painless. An eye doctor examines your vision and eyes through dilated pupils. Generally, the doctor focuses on the optic nerve, which has a specific appearance in glaucoma. A doctor will also perform a tonometry procedure to measure the eye pressure and a visual field test to look for side vision loss as well as ocular tomography of the optic nerve to look for damage.

If you believe you or one of your loved ones has glaucoma, consult the experts at Broome Optical. We are committed to offering cutting edge eye care for the residents of the Texas Panhandle, and we cater our services to patients of all ages from all walks of life.

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