Most adults accept that some eye health changes will occur as they progress through the decades of their lives. According to information published by the Bright Focus Foundation, the development of glaucoma is an example of an eye health change that occurs far too often. In fact, their statistics state that more than 3 million Americans are currently afflicted with glaucoma and that 2.7 million of those afflicted are older than 40 years of age.
If you are concerned about changes in your own eye health or that of someone you love, here are some important facts you should know about glaucoma.
More than one type
Glaucoma actually refers to several eye health conditions capable of damaging the optic nerve, usually due to the development of too much pressure inside the eyeball. Some of the most common forms of glaucoma include:
- open-angle: slowly develops due to changes that block normal drainage and allows interior eye pressure to increase
- angle-closure: occurs when bulges in the iris impede fluid circulation and allow pressure to increase
- normal-tension: occurs less frequently than other types and may be related to atherosclerosis that limits blood flow to the optic nerve
- pigmentary: occurs due to the formation of granular deposits that impede healthy fluid movement inside the eye
Though infrequent, glaucoma can also be found in infants and children, often caused by some type of damage to the optic nerve.
Onset can be stealthy
One of the most troublesome facts about glaucoma is the condition can develop so gradually that someone may have it for years before it is found, particularly when regular eye health care is not sought. While glaucoma is not currently curable, early detection and regular checkups with an eye health care professional can help to ensure that the condition remains manageable.
Heredity is a common factor
Eye health experts agree that the development of glaucoma can be related to heredity. Those whose biological relatives who were or currently are afflicted with glaucoma will want to bring this information to the attention of their eye health professional and attend regular examinations aimed at early detection.
Other risk factors for glaucoma include aging, high blood pressure, diabetes, nearsightedness, and being of African American or Mexican American heritage. In some instances, glaucoma may also develop after an eye injury or surgery or when corticosteroids have been used.
To learn more about glaucoma, including the latest developments in treatment and diagnosis, make an appointment with an eye care center as soon as possible.