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What is Glaucoma?

We promised to bring you more information about age-related eye conditions and we’re sticking to it!
In case you’re joining us now, September is National Healthy Aging Month! If you want to catch up you can read about Dry Eye Syndrome and Diabetic Eye Diseases, by clicking each one and click to find out more.
Keep reading to find out more about Glaucoma!
As we age it is important to maintain our bodies and good health; 
our eyes are no exception!
While anyone can develop glaucoma, those over 60 are at an increased risk. Additionally, if you have a family history of glaucoma your chances of developing it becomes elevated. Certain cultural groups can also have an increased probability of developing glaucoma. To find out if you fall into any of these categories it is very important you see an eye doctor once a year.
What is Glaucoma?
Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases that can affect the optic nerve. Glaucoma is present when the fluid pressure in the eye increases. This increased pressure then causes strain on the veins of the eye which can lead to damage to the optic nerve. In some cases, there is enough damage to cause vision loss or even blindness!
How does eye pressure increase?
In order for our eyes to nourish themselves, they produce fluid continuously out of an area called the anterior chamber. Sometimes during the process of this fluid flowing out of this chamber, it can be too slow and cause a build-up leading to increased pressure.
Here’s what you need to know:
  • Increased eye pressure can but doesn’t always indicate a diagnosis of glaucoma
    • The amount of pressure the inside of your eyes and optic nerve can handle is specific to you!
    • That means having an Optometrist complete an eye exam to determine what your baseline pressures are vital in diagnosing and treating Glaucoma
    • Everyone’s eyes are different, one side does not fit all!
  • Glaucoma can be present even if eye pressure is not elevated
    • This type of Glaucoma is not as common but can happen if you don’t monitor your optic nerve with annual comprehensive eye exams
How Glaucoma is Treated:
  • Medication
    • Most commonly medicated eye drops or pills are prescribed to help lower eye pressure with close monitoring of your eyes and the condition
  • Surgery
    • Laser treatment is an option for reducing pressure following medication, it allows some of the fluid to drain from your eyes however medications will still need to be taken following this procedure
    • Conventional surgery as a final option when both medication and laser treatment have not helped, a new opening is created for the fluid to drain and you must take medications for weeks following to prevent infection
What You Can Do to Control Glaucoma:
  • Complete Annual Comprehensive Eye Exams
    • Having your eye doctor complete a comprehensive eye exam to monitor your ocular pressure and the health of your optic nerve is crucial for spotting the signs of Glaucoma.
  • Know Your Family History
    • If your optometrist is made aware of a family history of Glaucoma they can keep you up to date and offer the best possible treatment options to maintain your eye health.
  • Exercise Regularly
    • Exercising on a consistent basis will keep your entire body healthy and is believed to help lower your eye pressure, reducing your risk of developing Glaucoma!
  • Take Prescribed Eye Drops
    • Maintaining your existing ocular pressure by taking medicated drops already prescribed by your eye doctor can help to keep your eye pressure from increasing leading to damage to your eyes and vision.
  • Wear Eye Protection
    • Glaucoma can actually be caused by an eye injury! When completing activities such as sports, home renovations or even work, wear the corresponding eye protection for the task.

 

If you feel you have a family history of Glaucoma or wish to discuss your eye health and what you could be doing for better vision book an appointment with our Doctor of Optometry today! Click here.

We are a Jacksonville Optometrist who provides full comprehensive eye exams to Jacksonville, as well as St. John’s, St. Augustine, Nocatee, and Fruit Cove! We offer online appointment booking available for your convenience 24 hours a day, 7 days a week!

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