January 20, 2022
Statistics show that about two-and-a-half million Americans are currently affected by open-angle glaucoma. It is also the number one cause of peripheral vision loss and even blindness.
It is a group of health conditions that can damage your optic nerve. This nerve is responsible for relaying visual data from the eye to the brain. For your vision to be optimal, your optical nerve must be healthy. Once glaucoma damages the nerve, you risk suffering vision impairment and blindness.
As mentioned above, glaucoma is a severe problem affecting many U.S. citizens. Experts report that older adults are at a higher risk of developing the condition. Meanwhile, Hispanics and African Americans face higher glaucoma risk too. There are main types of glaucoma—closed-angle and open-angle glaucoma.
Open-angle glaucoma (POAG) is a chronic form of glaucoma that develops slowly over elongated periods. It is the most common form of glaucoma and the primary cause of blindness in America. People suffering from POAG usually experience a blind spot in their general vision known as a visual field defect.
Closed-angle glaucoma, on the other hand, is a form of glaucoma that develops rather quickly. As it progresses, it causes sudden and painful vision issues. If you experience such symptoms, you should seek medical attention immediately. This condition is less common than POAG.
Screening for glaucoma is usually done with tests that examine changes in the fluid pressure in the eye and optical nerve. It also checks for changes in the visual field. This screening aims to identify signs of early glaucoma.
The signs may not bother you now, but they are indicators that you may lose vision in the future. In undergoing screening, patients who could potentially lose eyesight due to glaucoma can receive treatment.
As mentioned above, people at higher risk like African Americans and Hispanics should discuss with their doctors about getting glaucoma screening.
However, the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) reports that people under 40 have no known glaucoma risk factors. Yet, it is advisable to get routine glaucoma screening every five to ten years. Older people aged 65 and above should get an eye exam more frequently. Experts recommend a period of between six to 12 months.
Other people at high risk for the condition include:
Measuring eye pressure may not necessarily be a conclusive test for glaucoma. People with glaucoma do not necessarily have high intraocular pressure. An eye specialist will perform a combination of tests to determine if you have glaucoma.
For more on glaucoma screening, visit Eye Associates of New York at our office in Midtown East, New York. You can also call (212) 650-4888 to book an appointment today.