63. Glaucoma: You Can Keep Your Sight for Life

Even if you can read an eye chart with 20/20 vision, you may have chronic glaucoma. This is a progressive eye disease that gradually (and often painlessly) robs you of your peripheral vision by damaging the optic nerve. And unless it’s treated, your central vision may decline, too.

Glaucoma tends to run in families and is one of the most common eye disorders in people over the age of 60. Some facts to know:

  1. Glaucoma is caused by a dangerous buildup of fluid pressure within the eyeball. (If fluid builds up rapidly, it will cause redness and pain. This form of glaucoma is a medical emergency.)

  2. Glaucoma can cause extensive damage before you notice any symptoms, like  blurred vision or seeing halos around lights.

  3. Glaucoma can be triggered or aggravated by some medicines, like antihistamines and antispasmodics.

You may not be able to prevent glaucoma, but you may be able to prevent the blindness that may result from glaucoma. Ask to be tested for glaucoma whenever you get a regular vision checkup. It’s a simple and painless procedure. If pressure inside the eyeball is high, an eye specialist (ophthalmologist) will prescribe eye drops and perhaps oral medication. If this fails to control pressure, other options exist.

Ultrasound uses sound waves to reduce the pressure in the eye and is usually performed as a short, outpatient procedure.

Laser beam surgery and other surgical procedures can widen the drainage channels within the eye, relieving fluid buildup.

Chapter 2
  1. Major Medical Conditions:

  2. Prevention, Detection, and Treatment