Glaucoma Awareness – Screen, Protect & Cure
More than 3 million people in the United States have glaucoma. The National Eye Institute projects this number will reach 4.2 million by 2030, a 58 percent increase. Glaucoma is caused by the eye’s failure to maintain the balance of pressure between the internal fluid and the amount of fluid it drains away. High eye pressure caused by this imbalance causes pressure to build up against the optic nerve causing nerve damage.
Damage typically starts in the outside peripheral vision and is often not recognized by patients. A dilated eye exam is necessary to examine the optic nerve. Treatment generally begins with eye drops. Just as in any other prescribed medication, it’s important to consistently take the drops as prescribed. Since glaucoma symptoms are typically undetected, patients will not realize the damage that can be done without following the prescription.
If the optometrists at Bissell Eye Care deem that eye drops aren’t the best course of action, lasers or in extreme cases surgical procedures may be necessary to treat the disease. For those recently diagnosed with glaucoma, you can request a free educational booklet from the Glaucoma Research Foundation.
Smart contact lenses offer an exciting breakthrough in diagnosis and treatment of glaucoma. Smart contact lenses use tiny sensors, like those found in smartphones and other wearable devices, to collect data about the pressure inside your eye. As a result, they accurately measure intraocular pressure. These contact lenses can be personalized for each patient’s unique clinical needs, they may provide a promising treatment option for glaucoma.
Glaucoma Awareness – Types of Glaucoma Include:
Chronic (Open Angle) Glaucoma is the most common form of the disease. In open angle glaucoma, aqueous fluid drains too slowly and pressure inside the eye builds up. It usually results from aging of the drainage channel, which doesn’t work as well over time. However, younger people can also develop this type of glaucoma.
Normal Tension Glaucoma is a form of open angle glaucoma not related to high pressure. People with normal tension glaucoma may be unusually sensitive to normal levels of pressure. Reduced blood supply to the optic nerve may also play a role in normal tension glaucoma.
Acute (Angle Closure) Glaucoma: occurs more in Asian and Native American descents which are at higher risk for this form of glaucoma. This type of glaucoma occurs when the drainage system of the eye becomes blocked. This causes a sudden rise in pressure, requiring immediate, emergency medical care. The signs are usually serious and may include blurred vision, severe headaches, eye pain, nausea, vomiting or seeing rainbow-like halos around lights.
January is Glaucoma Awareness Month. Don’t let the “thief of sight” rob you of your independence. If you haven’t scheduled a regular eye exam, now is the time to do so. Call it your New Year’s Resolution to better health. Take action and call our office 724-443-6767 or 724-226-0444 to schedule your annual eye exam!
About Bissell Eye Care: John D. Bissell, OD owns and operates Bissell Eye Care servicing Northern Pittsburgh and Alle-Kiski Valley regions. With two locations to treat patients, we offer evening and Saturday appointments. Bissell Eye Care provides comprehensive eye examinations for the entire family beginning as early as 6 months, ocular disease detection and treatment, eyeglasses, sunglasses, activewear, contact lenses, and low vision examinations for those with significant vision loss. We accept most types of vision and health insurance plans. For more Information, visit bisselleyecare.com or call our Bakerstown Office at 724-443-6767 or Natrona Heights office at 724-226-0444.