Glaucoma: The Second Leading Cause of Blindness in the U.S.
Did you know that cataracts are the main cause of blindness in the United States, and glaucoma is in second place? It is estimated that about three million Americans are affected by glaucoma. Unfortunately, only about half of those individuals have been diagnosed with the disease. Early detection by a qualitied Chicago optometrist is essential to help you avoid vision loss.
Permanent Vision Loss
When glaucoma is present, it causes irreversible vision loss. Once the damage has been done, there is nothing that you can do to restore your vision again. Since it is not curable, it is important that you are proactive to catch the symptoms in the early stages of the disease.
To understand how glaucoma develops, we must first understand how fluid circulates within the eye:
As glaucoma progresses, it causes slow damage to the optic nerve. This nerve is essential to notify the brain of the information that is gathered in the eye. Vision loss is slow, and many people don’t realize that they have a problem until it is too late. If glaucoma goes untreated, then it could cause blindness.
Risk Factors for Glaucoma
Are you at risk to develop this disease? It is hard to identify who will be diagnosed with glaucoma. But, there are a few risk factors that increase the likelihood of a diagnosis:
- Increased Eye Pressure: When the pressure within the eye increases, it impacts the fluids that are present in the eye. Normally, the fluid flows through a small drain. But, the drain can become blocked which increases the pressure. As a result, it is possible for the eye to be damaged which can have a negative impact on vision.
- Eye Injury: Have you had an eye injury in the past, such as blunt force trauma to the eye? These types of injuries increase the risk of glaucoma. If an injury occurs, then you should seek treatment right away.
- Heritage: Researchers have found that people with an African-American heritage have a higher risk of glaucoma. It is estimated that the risk for African Americans is 6 to 8 times more than that of other demographics.
- Family History: Does glaucoma run in your family? If you have siblings or parents who suffer from glaucoma, then it means that you have a higher risk of the development of this eye disease.
Just because you have one of these risk factors, doesn’t mean that you will have glaucoma. The best thing that you can do is work with an experienced Chicago optometrist to watch for potential signs.
Early Diagnosis is Essential – Visit a Chicago Optometrist
Visiting the optometrist for regular checkups is important to monitor your prescription and overall visual health. During this appointment, the optometrist will look for certain signs of eye disease. Glaucoma is one thing that your eye doctor will be looking to diagnose.
If this eye disease is identified in the early stages, then it is possible to slow the progress through specific treatments.
Taking a proactive approach to your vision care is one of the best things that you can do to protect your vision. Part of this plan should include regular eye exams to identify potential problems that you might be facing. Contact Village Eyecare to schedule an appointment with an experienced Chicago optometrist.