What You Need to Know About Glaucoma

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As Glaucoma Awareness Month, January is an important time to spread the word about this common chronic eye disease.

Glaucoma is a chronic disease made up of a group of eye diseases, which damages the optic nerve and can lead to vision loss. Glaucoma affects over 60 million people worldwide, and in the United States, roughly 3 million people currently suffer from it. Glaucoma is a leading cause of irreversible blindness in the world and is most commonly seen in African Americans, Hispanics and Latinos.

Glaucoma is referred to as the “sneak thief of sight,” meaning by the time a person notices a decline in vision, they may be almost blind in one or both eyes. Glaucoma tends to be a completely silent in its symptoms, though some patients with acute angle closure glaucoma can present with blurred vision, halos around bright lights, nausea and headaches. However, if caught early, glaucoma can usually be controlled.

As you get older, the chances of being diagnosed with glaucoma increase. Family history and ancestry are also an important factor. Myopia (nearsightedness), low diastolic blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes and genetic factors can also play a part in glaucoma.

Treatments for glaucoma are designed to lower your eye pressure to a range that limits further damage to the optic nerve and preserve vision:

  • Medications such as eye drops and pills
  • Laser surgery performed in the clinic
  • Incisional surgery performed in the operating room

You and your eye doctor can choose treatments options for glaucoma in order to help slow down progression and help maintain your quality of life.

Click here to find an Ochsner physician in your area or call 1-866-624-7637 if you are experiencing any of these symptoms or would like more information about glaucoma.

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