This is What Makes Glaucoma So Sneaky
- Posted on: Apr 15 2018
Glaucoma is a common condition that affects older individuals. According to statistics, approximately 2.5 million Americans have this condition. This is an important piece of information because glaucoma is a common cause of vision loss or very low vision. Whatever we can do to lower the instances of glaucoma, then, is beneficial. The first thing we can do is gain awareness and understanding.
Why Glaucoma Can Cause Vision Loss
There are several structures in the eye that are integral to vision. Light enters the eye and lands on the retina. Light is then transferred to the brain through the optic nerve. In the brain, light is interpreted, providing us with what we see. Of course, this is a simplified description of how we can see what we see, but it works for our general purpose here. What we want to point out is that the optic nerve is a vital structure that we cannot do without. Glaucoma is a threat to vision because it compresses this nerve with heightened pressure inside the eye.
Why You May Not See It Coming
One of the promising details of glaucoma is that this eye disease can be managed when treatment begins early. One of the primary concerns related to glaucoma is that we often don’t see it coming. Here’s why . . .
The vision loss that occurs with open-angle glaucoma, the most common type, happens over time. Sometimes, it takes many years for nerve compression to downgrade vision. When it does happen, vision loss is initially limited to the outer edges, called the periphery. Since we do our “seeing” directly in front of us, we pay very little attention to peripheral vision.
Visual changes due to pressure on the optic nerve often go unnoticed until an intermediate stage of glaucoma. As glaucoma progresses, the central field of vision usually remains intact, with vision loss expanding from the periphery to the center.
Today, we have far better screening modalities than were available just a few decades ago. Adults with a family history of glaucoma are strongly encouraged to maintain regular eye exams that screen for this eye disease. Even if you do not have a known risk for glaucoma, routine screening is beneficial. Any amount of vision loss attributed to glaucoma cannot be restored. Therefore, early detection and treatment are crucial for long-term wellness.
We proudly serve patients from Chester, NJ and surrounding areas. To schedule your eye exam with glaucoma screening, call 908-879-7297.
Posted in: Glaucoma