There is a good chance that you know someone who has glaucoma, and they may not even know it yet. That person might even be you. Whether you are dealing with the disease or you know someone who is, it is good to be educated on the subject. Glaucoma, often nicknamed the “sneak thief of sight”, is known for showing no symptoms until permanent vision loss has already occurred. There is a lot about this disease that is still unknown, but here are a few things that we know for sure.
Glaucoma Is the Top Cause of Irreversible Blindness in the World
Glaucoma is the leading cause of irreversible blindness worldwide. Early detection is key to prevent vision loss. Unfortunately, not everyone in the world has access to proper eye examinations. This means that undiagnosed cases cause thousands of cases of blindness each year. While there is not a cure, in most cases, non-surgical and surgical treatments can stop progression. Even with treatment, about 10% of people will still experience vision loss.
Elevated Eye Pressure Doesn’t Always Cause Glaucoma
Many people think that high eye pressure (also known as ocular hypertension) causes glaucoma, but that isn’t always true. Ocular hypertension can cause the disease, but glaucoma can be present in those with low or normal eye pressure. Furthermore, people can have ocular hypertension without having the disease. Ocular hypertension is simply a risk factor. This is why a thorough eye examination is so important. Just checking eye pressure is not enough to diagnose, but is an indicator that glaucoma could be present.
High Eye Pressure Is Just One Risk Factor of Glaucoma
While ocular hypertension gets the most air-time as a risk factor for glaucoma, it is just one of many. You are at risk of developing glaucoma if you have severe nearsightedness, high blood pressure, or diabetes. In addition, steroid use and eye injuries put people at risk of developing glaucoma. People of African descent are also more likely to develop glaucoma at a younger age.
Your eye doctor will need to know your entire medical history, and some of your family history, to determine whether or not you are at increased risk of developing glaucoma.
Early Detection of Glaucoma Is a Money-Saver
Early detection doesn’t just save people’s eyesight. It can also save your bank account. Patients with early stage glaucoma spend an average of $623 a year on treatments. On the other hand, patients with end-stage glaucoma spend an average of $2,511 a year on treatments. That alone makes regular eye exams look pretty good.
Glaucoma is a complicated disease, but we’re here to help. If you’ve been diagnosed with glaucoma, or if you’re simply due for your next eye examination, contact us for an appointment. Here at Pinke Eye Center, we are committed to offering the best glaucoma care in the Shelton, CT area. Call us at (203) 924-8800 or request an appointment to become more proactive about your eye care.