Glaucoma: Can It Be Prevented?
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Vision loss due to glaucoma is frightening as well as frustrating. The damage that is done to the optic nerve can’t be treated. In some cases, if the glaucoma is detected early, you can protect yourself against serious vision loss. Now the question is, “Can I prevent glaucoma altogether?”
Can you prevent glaucoma?
The answer is no, and there is no guarantee that you will not experience vision loss due to glaucoma. However, you can detect it early, and attend routine eye examinations to help limit vision loss. That is what we do here at Eye Physicians and Surgeons of Arizona, we specialize in detecting glaucoma at our offices in Glendale and Scottsdale.
Am I at risk?
If you are under the age of 40, you should be screened for glaucoma every two to four years. For ages between 40-55 you should be checked every one to three years. If you are older than 65, the screenings should become more regular, at least once per year. It is also good to know if you are at increased risk due to a family history of glaucoma. Those who are at high risk include people of African descent, people with diabetes and people who have family history of glaucoma. People with these risk factors will likely be asked to come in for glaucoma screenings more often.
What else do I need to know?
The most common type of glaucoma is primary open angle glaucoma. The loss of vision is progressive but slow. It usually affects side vision first (peripheral vision) and then central vision deteriorates as it progresses, until it is lost. Medications slow the progression of glaucoma by relieving intraocular pressure (IOP) to prevent damage to the optic nerve.
How can I be proactive?
Eye pressure is extremely important regarding glaucoma, that is why it is recommended that people with increased risk exercise moderately, and regularly. If you are prone to high eye pressure, take prescribed eyedrops regularly, even if you have no symptoms. Although accidents happen and serious eye injuries occur, one way to prevent damage is by wearing protective eyewear in active situations. If you are at high risk for glaucoma you should be tested every year after the age of 35.
If you are worried about glaucoma, or have any questions, give us a call at our offices in Glendale and Scottsdale. We are here to help!