What is Glaucoma? Glaucoma is a serious condition that involves an elevation in pressure inside the eye caused by a build-up of excess fluid. Left untreated, it can destroy the optic nerve, which is the main nerve of the eye. In most cases, it is a painless disease…and there are no symptoms other than loss of vision, which can occur so gradually that many people do not realize it is happening. Glaucoma cannot be cured, but it can be treated. It if is spotted in its early stages, blindness can almost always be prevented.
Normal Vision vs. Vision withGlaucoma Glaucoma effects your peripheral vision first and if left untreated can lead to permanent blindness.
Causes Blocked drainage system (trabecular meshwork) Increased fluid production in the eye Increased pressure of the eye Can occur even with normal intraocular pressures (normal tension glaucoma) Optic nerve damage occurs at different pressures for individuals This damage is irreversible
Types of Glaucoma Primary Angle- Open-Angle Closure Glaucoma Glaucoma (most Acute Normal common) Angle- Tension closure Glaucoma Glaucoma Pigmentary Secondary Glaucoma Glaucoma (resulting from eye Childhood trauma, eye Glaucoma disease, diabetes, o r certain medications)
Risk Factors Race – African Americans and Hispanics Glaucoma is the leading cause of blindness in African- Americans People of Asian descent are at risk of developing acute-angle glaucoma Heredity – Family history of glaucoma Age – People over 60; African-Americans over 40 People with severe myopia/hyperopia Increased eye pressure Use of steroids Diabetes Hypertension (high blood pressure) Obesity Vigorous Exercise (with pigmentary glaucoma)
Detection of Glaucoma Immediate treatment for glaucoma can delay progression of the disease. Thats why early diagnosis is very important. People at risk should receive a comprehensive dilated eye exam regularly – every one to two years. During a comprehensive eye examine, the eye doctor will dilate the pupils, measure eye pressure (IOP), and test the visual field.
How often to See Your Eye Doctor Do NOT wait until a change in your vision occurs. A comprehensive eye exam should be performed every three to five years at age 40, unless you have risk factors for developing glaucoma (in this case, every one to two years) After 60, a comprehensive eye exam should be performed every year. Regardless of risk factors, it is advised to have an eye exam every one to two years – early detection of any eye disease can save your vision and/or prevent further vision loss.
Symptoms & Treatment In most cases, there are no early Glaucoma cannot be symptoms, causing no pain. cured, but can be maintained Unless the pressure is very through: high, elevated eye pressure Medication (usually in the cannot be felt. form of eye drops) Laser Therapy Acute angle-closure glaucoma symptoms may include blurred Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty (SLT) vision, nausea, headaches, and halos around bright light 90% of glaucoma patients are First, peripheral vision begins candidates deteriorating. Argon Laser Once vision loss occurs, it Trabeculoplasty (ALT) cannot be restored because the Filtration Surgery optic nerves have been Alternative to destroyed trabeculectomy
Preventing Glaucoma Regular eye exams Detects glaucoma before irreparable damage occurs Treat elevated eye pressure Lowering eye pressure can decrease the chances that it will lead to glaucoma Control weight and blood pressure Insulin resistance is linked to elevated intraocular pressure (the pressure inside the eye) Wear eye protection Secondary glaucoma can result from eye injuries
A Preventative Lifestyle Regular exercise and a nutritious diet Avoid alcohol, excessive caffeine, and smoking – all of these can increase intraocular pressure Certain foods can help preserve your vision These guidelines are good to follow to help prevent most eye diseases
A Healthy Diet for Your Eyes Eat plenty of green leafy vegetables, such as spinach, Swiss chard and endive. Salad greens contain Lutein and Zeaxanthin, plant pigments with powerful antioxidant properties that protect the eye. Limit sugar intake and control blood sugar levels. Diabetes may increase the risk of glaucoma in women, according to the Nurses Health Study, the results of which appeared in the July 2006 issue of "Ophthalmology." Obesity is also related to elevated eye pressure.
Avoid lots of red meats, and focus on wild-caught fish and seafood as sources of Vitamin E and Zinc. Eat foods high in Omega-3s, or consider taking a pharmaceutical-grade fish oil to supplement your diet.
Add a serving of dark berries to a daily meal. These berries, plus orange and yellow fruits and vegetables, contain carotenoids, which are necessary for good vision.
More Ways to a Healthy Vision Consult with your doctor and ask whether vitamins supplements are right for you. Make an appointment with a registered dietician who can help develop a diet plan specific to your needs. Control blood pressure and other medical conditions New studies show that aerobic exercise may actually decrease intraocular pressure briefly. Avoid vigorous weight lifting and inverted yoga positions – as these will tend to increase intraocular pressure
Test your Eye-Q TRUE FALSE Glaucoma is more common in African- Americans than in Whites Glaucoma tends to run in families A person can have glaucoma and not know it People over 60 are more likely to get glaucoma Eye pain is often a symptom of glaucoma
Test your Eye-Q TRUE FALSE Glaucoma can be controlled Glaucoma is caused by increased eye pressure Vision loss from glaucoma can be restored A complete glaucoma exam consists only of measuring eye pressure People at risk for glaucoma should have an eye examination through dilated pupils
Summary of Glaucoma Glaucoma is three to four times more likely to occur in African Americans than in Whites. In addition, glaucoma is six times more likely to cause blindness in African Americans than in Whites. Although glaucoma tends to run in families, a hereditary basis has not been established. If someone in your immediate family has glaucoma, you should have a comprehensive dilated eye examination every one to two years. The early stages of open-angle glaucoma, the most common form, usually have no warning signs. However, as the disease progresses, a person with glaucoma may notice his or her side vision gradually failing. Everyone over age 60 is at an increased risk for glaucoma, especially Mexican Americans. Other groups at increased risk are African Americans over age 40 and people with a family history of glaucoma. Children and babies can also develop glaucoma.
People with glaucoma usually do not experience pain from the disease. Although glaucoma cannot be cured, it can usually be controlled by eyedrops or pills, conventional surgery, or laser surgery. Sometimes eye care professionals will recommend a combination of surgery and medication. Increased eye pressure means you are at increased risk for glaucoma, but does not mean you have the disease. A person has glaucoma only if the optic nerve is damaged. If you have increased eye pressure but no damage to the optic nerve, you do not have glaucoma. Follow the advice of your doctor. Vision loss from glaucoma is permanent. However, with early detection and treatment, the progression of vision loss can be slowed or halted, and the risk of blindness reduced.
A measurement of eye pressure by Tonometry, though an important part of a comprehensive eye exam, is, by itself, not sufficient for the detection of glaucoma. Glaucoma is detected most often during an eye examination through dilated pupils. Drops are put into the eyes during the exam to enlarge the pupils, which allows the eye care professional to see more of the inside of the eye to check for signs of glaucoma. When indicated, a visual field test should also be performed.
You only have one pair of eyes, so routine eye exams are the best way to ensure that they are healthy! No matter at what age, routine eye exams should be important to you. Don’t wait until you notice vision loss to get an eye exam. You may never regain what vision has been lost. Presented by The Eye Center of Texas www.eyecenteroftexas.com