The Silent Threat
Glaucoma is called the silent threat due to its lack of symptoms; when it strikes, the resulting loss of vision is irreversible. Glaucoma is the leading cause of blindness in the United States today and is a threat for approximately 2% of the population aged 35 and over.
Early diagnosis and treatment of glaucoma may prevent loss of vision or blindness. For this reason, a glaucoma screening is recommended every 2 years for people over the age of 35 and persons with a family history of the disease are encouraged to get wellness exams even more often.
In everyday terms, glaucoma is an elevated pressure within the eye. The buildup of pressure inside the eye subsequently damages the optic nerve, causing vision loss. As the millions of nerve bundles within the optic nerve are damaged, loss of vision will occur, usually in the peripheral areas of vision first. This loss of vision often goes unnoticed. Since glaucoma is typically a painless disease, early diagnosis through wellness vision exams is critical to prevent permanent vision loss.
Glaucoma can often be treated through the use of special prescription eye drops, or oral medication. These medications relieve fluid pressure within the eye.
These treatments have possible side effects.
Laser treatment may be indicated to decrease pressures and preserve vision if medications prove to be ineffective.