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What Age Should I Start Worrying About Glaucoma?

woman sitting on the couch while holding a cup of coffee

Have you or a loved one found out you have glaucoma? Glaucoma is a severe threat to the wellbeing of your eyesight.

The condition damages your optic nerve, causing permanent vision loss. Glaucoma is also a progressive disease.

This means that it gets worse and worse over time. The decline in eye health is so slow and subtle that many people with the condition don’t realize it until vision loss has already occurred.

This disease is one of the best examples of why regular trips to an eye care professional are so necessary to maintaining good vision. Schedule an appointment at Vision Care of Maine today and ask for a glaucoma screening!

Glaucoma is not exclusive to the older population. But the truth is people who are over 60 are at an increased risk of developing it.

As you get older, you should increase the frequency of your eye doctor visits. Keep reading to learn more about glaucoma and if there’s an age that you should start worrying about it more!

How To Test For Glaucoma

Your optic nerve suffers damage from glaucoma due to an increase in internal ocular pressure. Often, this is caused by a partial blockage inside of the eye.

This partial blockage inside of the eye causes eye fluid to be produced faster than the eye can drain it. This is called open-angle glaucoma.

The most reliable way to test for open-angle glaucoma is by measuring eye pressure. This test is called tonometry.

During tonometry, you’ll have an instrument called a tonometer used on your eyes. After numbing your eyes with special drops, the doctor uses a pencil-shaped probe to measure the resistance.

A more modern-day version of the test utilizes a hard puff of air blown into the eye through a machine, which senses the resistance given by your eye.

In some cases, glaucoma occurs even with normal eye pressure. Doctors will also use tests to determine your field of vision, corneal thickness, and will even look directly at your optic nerve for damage.

Other Risk Factors

Age is not the only thing that causes an increased risk of developing glaucoma. If you fit one or more of the following descriptions, be extra aware of gradual changes in your vision.

You have a family history of glaucoma

If you have a family history of glaucoma, you are more likely to also develop the eye condition. Glaucoma seems to get passed down through families.

You are African American

African Americans are not only more likely to get glaucoma but they are also more likely to suffer permanent vision loss.

You have certain other health conditions

Diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease all factor into your glaucoma risk

Your eyes have previously had severe physical trauma

Blunt force trauma can cause an immediate spike in eye pressure. This can cause pressure to increase in the future, and can even dislocate the lens of the eye, blocking the drainage angle.

You use corticosteroids

Prolonged usage of corticosteroids can increase the risk of glaucoma.

Concerned about glaucoma? Schedule an appointment at Vision Care of Maine in Bangor, ME today!

Smiling older woman holding coffee cup while looking out window

One of the scariest ways to lose your sight is through glaucoma. In its most common form, it is not painful. In fact, glaucoma is almost completely undetectable.

The condition slowly eats away at your vision a little at a time so you don’t even notice losing it until it is too late. Any eyesight that is lost due to glaucoma is absolutely permanent.

Without side effects, it is nearly impossible to tell on your own if you are suffering from glaucoma. This is why regular eye appointments are so necessary.

You can schedule an appointment with Vision Care of Maine located in Bangor, easily. But if you are not experiencing any symptoms, how does an eye doctor tell that you have glaucoma?

Keep reading to find out if glaucoma is a genetic condition!

Glaucoma Risk Factors

There are many different things that play a role in if you develop glaucoma. A good eye doctor will look at all possible factors that are present to determine the likelihood that you will develop glaucoma. These factors include:

Other Types of Glaucoma

The most common kind of glaucoma is primary open-angle glaucoma. This form of glaucoma is barely noticeable before permanent vision loss occurs.

But there are other forms of glaucoma that don’t fit that bill. Angle-closure glaucoma comes on very quickly and is painful, though it is much less common.

On the other side, you can develop glaucoma without high interior eye pressure. Normal-tension glaucoma, as it is called, is also very rare. This form of glaucoma is more prevalent in individuals that are of Japanese heritage.

Prevention is the key to avoiding damage and vision loss because of glaucoma. While it cannot be reversed or cured, glaucoma can be kept in check with medication and surgery.

Have more questions about glaucoma or can’t remember the last time you had an eye exam? Schedule an appointment at Vision Care of Maine in Bangor, ME now!

There’s never a bad time to start making your vision health a priority!

Glaucoma Treatment

Glaucoma is one of the most notorious eye diseases out there. That’s why it earned the nickname, “The Silent Thief of Sight”. Here’s why.

Glaucoma Causes You To Permanently Lose Vision

Glaucoma is a disease that damages your optic nerve. Your optic nerve sends the information detected by your eye to your brain. Although the optic nerve is made up of a thick and tough tissue, when damaged it’s not repairable.

Glaucoma is generally associated with high eye pressure. This pressure in the eye presses on the optic nerve harder and harder as it builds up, taking away vision.

There Are Different Kinds of Glaucoma

The classic form of glaucoma is open-angle glaucoma, in which the build up of pressure is slow and gradual. This occurs when the interior drainage system is not draining as fast as fluid is entering.

Another more dangerous, form of glaucoma is known as closed-angle glaucoma. This occurs when that drainage system becomes blocked. This leaves no room for any fluid to escape.

This rare form of glaucoma causes vision loss to be much more rapid. Symptoms include headaches, severe pain, and blurriness.

In rare cases, glaucoma can occur without an increase in intraocular pressure. This form is normal tension glaucoma. This may happen because the patient’s optic nerve is more fragile than normal. As a result, even normal eye pressure is too much.

Glaucoma Is Hard To Detect

Glaucoma has no noticeable symptoms, except vision loss. Again, when you lose sight from glaucoma, there’s no getting it back.

Glaucoma can be tested for with a method called tonometry. Tonometry tests for abnormal eye pressure. There are two versions of tonometry: applanation tonometry and no contact tonometry.

Applanation tonometry numbs the eye and then uses an instrument to press into the cornea. This tests to see how much pressure will flatten the cornea. This type of tonometry is more involved, so it is not as popular as no contact tonometry.

No contact tonometry is the classic “puff of air” test that people dread so much during eye exams. This test involves blowing a concentrated puff of air into the patient’s eye. No contact tonometry is harmless, but it can be startling.

Since glaucoma has no noticeable symptoms, it is important to be proactive in your eye care. Schedule an annual check up with Vision Care of Maine in Bangor!

Glaucoma Is Incurable But Treatable

Not only is the damage done by glaucoma permanent, but the disease never goes away. Though it can’t fully be cured, glaucoma is manageable.

Treatment usually comes in the form of eye drops, though some people may prefer or need to use pills. In either case, the medication lowers eye pressure.

This is accomplished through slowing down production of fluid or relaxing eye muscles. For best results, both medications may get combined and taken together.

Glaucoma is an incurable disease, but it is easy to manage and keep under control. Need glaucoma treatment? Schedule your consultation with Vision Care of Maine in Bangor today!

glaucoma awareness bangor

It is estimated that 60 million people worldwide have been diagnosed with or are living with glaucoma, with that number expected to rise in 2017. A large portion of that number is completely unaware that they have glaucoma. January is Glaucoma Awareness Month, so we’re here to share some tips on how to lower your risk of vision loss brought on by glaucoma.

While a healthy lifestyle and balanced diet can certainly lower your risk of glaucoma, the only way to prevent glaucoma-related vision loss is to attend regular eye examinations. Vision loss from glaucoma is not reversible, no matter what type of food you eat. Glaucoma can damage your vision without any initial symptoms, so these exams are important in preserving your vision.

That said, let’s talk about the foods you can eat to lower your risk of glaucoma-related vision loss!

Flavonoid-Rich Foods

Flavonoids are a large group of phytonutrients (plant chemicals) found in just about every fruit and vegetable. They are part of the reason fruits and vegetables have just vibrant colors. Flavonoids are very powerful antioxidants with anti-inflammatory and immune system benefits. A study has shown that flavonoids have a role in improving visual function in patients with glaucoma and ocular hypertension. They appear to play a part in both improving and slowing the progression of glaucoma-related vision loss.

Onions, tea, strawberries, kale, grapes, Brussels sprouts, citrus fruit, and parsley are all examples of flavonoid-rich foods that you should add into your diet!

Eggplant

A study conducted in 2003 found that eating large portions of eggplant could reduce intraocular pressure by as much as 25% for a period of time. Low intraocular pressure keeps glaucoma risk very low. While eating eggplant should never be a replacement for intraocular pressure medications, it can’t hurt to add this healthy vegetable into your diet.

Goji Berries

RGCs are responsible for receiving input from the 96.6 million rods and cones located on the retina. In layman’s terms, they play a huge part in your ability to see! These important RGCs are easily damaged by high intraocular pressure.

Many people, especially in Eastern medicine, swear by goji berries when it comes to preserving eyesight. Aside from plenty of anecdotal evidence, goji berries have been shown to have a protective effect on retinal ganglion cells (RGCs).

Our glaucoma specialists at Vision Care of Maine recommend these foods as part of a balanced diet. Of course, while these foods have been shown to have benefits in saving vision, they are not a replacement for your glaucoma medications. We also recommend speaking to your primary care doctor before switching up your diet.

In the spirit of Glaucoma Awareness Month, we encourage you to share this article. Awareness is the first step in preventing glaucoma-related vision loss. For more information on what you can do to stop vision loss, call a Vision Care of Maine location today!

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