There are many serious eye illnesses and diseases that can impact your vision. Among the most challenging is glaucoma. It currently impacts over three million Americans and all indications are this number will increase in the coming decade. Perhaps one reason for this is that it impacts people over sixty in greater numbers and the average age of the population continues to increase. Since January is National Glaucoma Awareness Month, we would like to educate our readers on the subject.

Glaucoma is actually a group of eye conditions impacting the optic nerve. It is caused by increased pressure on the eye. Unfortunately, it is often such a gradual change to vision that the sufferer may not be fully aware of the condition in its early stages. Another grave concern is that once the vision is lost, it cannot be recovered. This information is meant to ensure that people recognize the importance of regular eye exams. Early diagnosis can help curb the progression of the disease.

There are multiple signs and symptoms of glaucoma. In some cases, the individual may experience patchiness in their central or peripheral vision in one or both eyes. It will likely turn into a form of tunnel vision and can result, in its final stages, in total vision loss. Another form of glaucoma can lead to headaches, blurred vision, and nausea.

There are multiple treatment options. First, it is valuable to remind people that regular checkups are the first guard against any type of eye problem. A checkup allows an optometrist to identify the existence of vision issues. Otherwise, the first treatment option for early glaucoma is prescription eyedrops. They adjust the amount of liquid in the eyeball which alters the pressure. There are a dozen or more types of glaucoma eyedrops with varying side effects and effectiveness levels.

Next are oral medications that are designed to lower the pressure in the eye. Finally, surgery and other therapies are meant to help minimize the symptoms while also improving the longevity of vision. One therapy that is becoming more common is the use of drainage tubes to ‘shunt’ the excess fluid from the eye.

If you have not been to the eye doctor recently, the professionals at Island Eyecare would like to provide our services. Contact us for your next eye exam.