It is probably fair to say that glaucoma is very much a misunderstood disease, with many people not actually realising the extent of its severity or who may be affected by it.
In basic terms, everyone is at risk when it comes to glaucoma, but there are definitely certain groups of individuals who have a profile that puts them at a higher risk than others. The people who are identified as having a higher risk profile should certainly organise a thorough eye exam at least every 12-24 months, in order to monitor the situation.
Facts to consider about glaucoma
There are over 100,000 people per annum in the UK who have laser eye surgery organised through a resource site like the Laser Eye Surgery Hub, but this is to treat other eye conditions and diseases, as there is actually no known cure as yet for people who have glaucoma.
Unfortunately, glaucoma is not a curable disease and any vision that is lost by a patient will not be recovered, regardless of the treatment that they undergo. There is however, the opportunity to halt the progress of the condition with medication and surgery, which is why it is critical that anyone at risk has regular eye checks.
If you are diagnosed with open-angle glaucoma, this is classified as a chronic condition and you will have to be monitored regularly for the rest of your life. You should remember that diagnosis is the first important step to preserving the level of vision that you currently have, so act immediately if you have any concerns.
If it is left untreated, glaucoma can actually cause permanent blindness and sadly, around 10% of patients who actually get the necessary treatment they require, still experience varying degrees of loss of vision.
Symptoms of glaucoma
One of the fundamental problems that patients have to contend with, is the fact that with the most common disease, open-angle glaucoma, there are virtually no symptoms to provide you with an early warning system.
Very often there is no pain experienced with increased eye pressure and one of the first physical signs is when you experience vision loss with peripheral or side vision. A lot of people who experience this loss of vision, tend to try and compensate for this loss by subconsciously turning their head from side to side.
If you are not aware of doing this, there is good chance that the first idea that anything is actually wrong, will come when you start to experience significant vision loss.
Your ethnicity has a bearing on your risk profile and it seems that people of Asian descent are at a higher risk of angle-closure glaucoma that some other groups, and African Americans are up to 8 times more at risk of developing glaucoma than Caucasians.
Other aspects that influence your risk of having glaucoma include being diagnosed with high myopia (nearsightedness), hypertension, and having a central cornea thickness that is measured at less than 0.5mm.
Regular eye checks are always an important thing to do anyway, but if you are at risk from glaucoma, the sooner you identify any problems the better your chances of an improved prognosis, despite the fact that there is currently no known cure.
Carl Robinson has worked in the eyecare field for many years now. He gets great satisfaction from helping people see as well as possible. When he’s not doing that, he’s sharing his insights on various blog sites.