Spotting Glaucoma Symptoms Early Helps Protect Your Vision
It’s easy to take your vision for granted. But, did you know that a group of eye diseases called glaucoma could rob you of your eyesight if left untreated? During Glaucoma Awareness Month, learn how to recognize glaucoma symptoms and protect your vision.
What is Glaucoma?
According to the National Eye Institute, “Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases that can cause vision loss and blindness by damaging a nerve in the back of your eye called the optic nerve.” It is a leading cause of irreversible blindness in men and women over the age of 60.
There’s no cure for glaucoma, but early diagnosis and treatment has been found to be highly effective.
Who is at Risk?
Glaucoma is a medical condition that can be found in both children and adults. It is one of the leading causes of blindness for people over the age of 60. Glaucoma can occur at any age, but it is more commonly found in older adults.
Certain groups of people are at higher risk, including those who are:
- Over the age of 60
- African American/Latino over the age of 40
- Genetically inclined due to a family history of glaucoma
- Living with chronic medical conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and sickle cell anemia
- Extremely nearsighted or farsighted
Since everyone’s risk factors may be different, consult with your doctor. Ask them about your risk for developing glaucoma and how often they recommend you get checked.
Recognize Common Glaucoma Symptoms
Glaucoma symptoms can start so slowly that you may not notice them. In fact, many people have glaucoma and do not even know it. Over time, serious symptoms can develop, ultimately leading to loss of vision. Finding eye diseases in the early stages can help make treatment more effective.
Symptoms may vary depending on the type of glaucoma you have and the stage of your condition.
- Patchy blind spots, typically in both eyes
- Tunnel vision (in advanced stages)
Acute Angle-Closure Glaucoma
- Eye pain
- Eye redness
- Severe eyestrain headaches
- Nausea and vomiting
- Blurred vision
- Seeing halos around lights
There is only one way to find out if you have glaucoma: see an optometrist for a comprehensive dilated eye exam. This highly recommended test is simple and painless.
How Often Should I Get Checked for Glaucoma?
Visiting the eye doctor is an essential part of living a healthy lifestyle.
- Children should be checked regularly by an eye doctor or pediatrician.
- Those with diabetes should have a dilated eye exam every year.
- People who are at higher risk for glaucoma should have a dilated eye exam every two years.
If you are having glaucoma symptoms, don’t postpone seeing your optometrist. Undiagnosed vision problems are best treated early.
Protect Your Vision at Family Health Centers
Family Health Centers provides optometry services to all, regardless of insurance status or the ability to pay. At one of our convenient Nassau County locations, you can receive glaucoma screenings, eye exams, low vision treatment and other general eye care services.
Contact us today to request an appointment.