Welcome back to the Crescent Eye Care blog! Our vision is something that we can often take for granted until we can’t see like we used to. For this reason, it’s important to be proactive about our eye health. Like in our last blog “5 Foods That Can Help Your Vision,” there are many things you can do to help keep your eyes healthy. However, another thing you can do is to make regular eye exam appointments. 

How regularly you schedule your eye exam appointment will depend on a few factors including your age, eye health, vision, and risk factors. Someone who is in their twenties may only have to see the eye doctor every five years. However, someone the same age who must have vision assistance through glasses or contact lenses may see the doctor every year to ensure their prescription hasn’t changed. 

Those who are over the age of 60 are encouraged to get yearly checkups as they are more at risk for degenerative diseases such as glaucoma. Glaucoma is the leading cause of blindness in those over 60 and is irreversible. Keep reading to learn more about this disease or make an appointment with our eye care specialists today! 

Glaucoma: What You Need to Know 

Glaucoma is a serious condition that could significantly affect your quality of life. If caught early, its effects can be managed with the help of medication or procedures. 

What Is It? 

Glaucoma is a degenerative disease that damages the optic nerve which is responsible for carrying information from your eye to your brain. The damage caused by glaucoma can lead to impaired vision and eventually complete blindness, if it goes untreated. 

Glaucoma generally occurs in those who are 60 years or older and can occur without warning signs but may only be detected by an eye care specialist during an annual eye exam. 

Symptoms 

Symptoms of glaucoma are nearly non-existent until you notice your vision to diminish. Unfortunately, this damage can not be reversed. This is why you must see your eye doctor regularly to prevent any damage to your vision. 

Acute angle-closure glaucoma, however, does have other symptoms such as: 

  • Blurry vision
  • Halos around lights
  • Eye pain
  • Nausea and vomiting. 

If you experience this, then see an eye doctor immediately. 

Causes

Glaucoma is caused by ocular hypertension — higher-than-normal pressure inside the eye. Our eyes are filled with aqueous humor, a clear fluid that helps maintain the shape of our eye and also nourishes the anterior part of our eye. This fluid is regularly replenished and drained out of our eye by the drainage angle. If the drainage angle stops working or the trabecular meshworks that the fluid travels through becomes clogged, it can result in higher than normal pressure in our eyes.

Other Causes

This pressure can then damage the optic nerve. Low intracranial pressure in our head surrounding the brain may also be a cause. 

Types of Glaucoma

The two main types of glaucoma are primary open-angle glaucoma and angle-closure glaucoma. Other types include low tension or normal tension glaucoma, congenital glaucoma, and secondary glaucoma. Though glaucoma commonly occurs in those beyond the age of 60, some types can occur in others due to certain risk factors. 

Primary Open-Angle Glaucoma

This is the most common type of glaucoma. It occurs when drainage is impeded and, as a result, pressure builds in the eye. 

Angle-Closure Glaucoma

This type of glaucoma is less common and occurs when the drainage area is too narrow or begins to close. This can be a chronic condition or acute. 

Low-Tension Glaucoma/Normal-Tension Glaucoma

Sometimes the pressure within the eye may be normal or low, but glaucoma occurs as a result of low blood pressure. 

Congenital Glaucoma

Some children can be born with a form of glaucoma due to a defect in the development of the drainage angle. Cloudy corneas, light sensitivity, and water eyes are symptoms of this condition. 

Secondary Glaucoma

Certain medical conditions can also cause glaucoma. These conditions include diabetes and high-blood pressure. Other eye conditions (cataracts, uveitis), medications, and eye trauma can also be culprits.

Book an Appointment For Complete Eye Care

If you are at risk for glaucoma, book with our eye care specialists today! We offer complete eye care for Charleston and the surrounding area. Learn about our practice when you visit our website and schedule online!