Though many don’t realize it, it’s important to get tested for glaucoma, as it’s known as “the sneak thief of sight.” Unfortunately, glaucoma shows no symptoms, and once vision is lost, it’s permanent.

What you need to know about glaucoma

Glaucoma is a group of eye conditions that damage the optic nerve, which is essential to good vision. Optic nerve damage is often caused by abnormally high pressure in the eye.

More than three million Americans over the age of 40 have glaucoma; half of who, experts estimate, don’t know they have it. This is all the more reason to know your level of risk for glaucoma and to have regular eye exams. If you’re diagnosed with the disease, knowing your treatment options will help you understand their purpose and intended results.

Glaucoma: Who’s at risk?

You may be at a greater risk for developing certain types of glaucoma if you:

  • Are aged 40 or older
  • Have a family history of glaucoma
  • Have high eye pressure
  • Are African American, Hispanic, East Asian or have East Asian ancestry
  • Have had an eye injury or eye surgery, such as cataract surgery
  • Have diabetes or high blood pressure
  • Are taking corticosteroid medicines

When should you begin glaucoma screenings?

The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends that people who are at risk for glaucoma have complete eye exams according to the schedule below:

  • Ages 40 to 54 – Every 1 to 3 years
  • Ages 55 to 64 – Every 1 to 2 years
  • Ages 65 and older – Every 6 to 12 months

Understanding glaucoma treatment

When detected early, glaucoma can be treated and managed. The goal of treatment is to prevent loss of vision, as vision loss from glaucoma is irreversible. Treatments for glaucoma include:

  • Medicated eye drops are the most common glaucoma treatment. These medications lower your eye pressure — either by reducing the amount of fluid created in the eye or by helping this fluid flow out of the eye through a drainage angle.
  • Oral medications are often prescribed to people when eye drops cannot sufficiently lower eye pressure.
  • Laser surgery is performed to improve the fluid flow from the eye, resulting in lowered eye pressure. Some laser surgeries can be done in the doctor’s office with minimal downtime.

Advanced, dedicated care for your optimal eye health

The ability to see life is critical to living life. Our eyesight is a precious gift. So, if your vision is compromised by conditions such as glaucoma, cataracts or other vision problems, Evergreen Eye Center is here to help. We’re proud to be the recognized leader in offering state-of-the-art diagnostics and treatments in the Puget Sound area. Over the last 20 years, we’ve helped thousands of people see and live better with our patient-centered care.

To schedule an appointment, call 888-317-6703. You can also click here to find an Evergreen Eye Center location near you or request information with our online form.