Why Glaucoma Screenings are Important

Glaucoma is a group of diseases that damage the optic nerve, which is located in the back of your eye and is responsible for transferring visual information from the retina to the brain. Because this nerve is so integral to your vision, damage to it can lead to vision loss and blindness. In fact, glaucoma is the leading cause of blindness in the United States and the second leading cause of blindness in the world.

According to the Glaucoma Research Foundation, over 3 million people in the US have glaucoma, but only half of those people know they have it. There are often no signs of the disease until it’s progressed to the point of vision impairment. Because of the absence of early symptoms, glaucoma is sometimes referred to as the silent thief of sight.

There is no cure for glaucoma, and that’s why glaucoma screenings are so vital to the long-term quality of your vision and health of your eyes.

What is glaucoma?

Intraocular eye pressure damages your optic nerve. Fluid normally flows through your eyes to nourish them and drains at the open angle where the iris and the cornea meet. When your eyes don’t drain properly, fluid collects, causing pressure within your eye.

There are several types of glaucoma. The two most common are:

Open-angle glaucoma  

In this type of glaucoma, the angle where the fluid drains typically is open but clogged. The fluid does flow, but not quickly enough, so it slowly builds up, creating pressure and eventually damage to the optic nerve.

Angle-closure glaucoma

In this form of glaucoma, the angle is blocked, causing immediate increased eye pressure. This condition usually comes on more suddenly and is considered a medical emergency. If you experience eye pain, a severe headache, and blurred vision, seek medical attention immediately.

Risk factors for glaucoma

Anyone can develop glaucoma, but it’s more common in people over 60. Other risk factors include:

If you have one or more of these risk factors, you may need to be screened for glaucoma more frequently.

Glaucoma screening

Glaucoma can’t be cured, and the damage it causes is irreversible. But you can help lower your risk of developing it and prevent it from worsening by getting regular eye checkups and taking medication as directed.

The only way to diagnose glaucoma is with a comprehensive eye exam, which includes a glaucoma screening. A glaucoma screening consists of the tests to:

If you have any questions about preventing or treating glaucoma, call us at Dr. David R. Frazee Family Eyecare in Richardson, Texas, or use our online system to request an appointment.

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