Although it affects over 25,000 Arkansans, patients often walk into our clinics who don’t know their vision is being compromised by glaucoma. January is Glaucoma Awareness month, so here are the five things you need to know about glaucoma.
#1) What is Glaucoma? Glaucoma is a group of eye conditions where optic nerve damage often occurs when the fluid pressure inside the eye increases. It is the second leading cause of blindness, but it is THE leading cause of blindness that CAN be prevented.
#2) What are the risk factors of glaucoma? African, Hispanic or Asian heritages have the highest chance of developing glaucoma. People with diabetes, a family history of glaucoma or are severely nearsighted are also considered high risk. The risk for developing glaucoma increases with age, so if you over the age 60 you should be mindful to have regular eye doctor visits with glaucoma screenings.
#3) What are the common symptoms of glaucoma? There are usually no early warning signs or noticeable symptoms. In fact, most do not recognize any symptoms from the disease until they begin to experience severe vision problems. Other patients complain of severe pain in the eye or start to notice blurred or narrowed field of vision.
#4) What are treatments for glaucoma? The most common treatment for glaucoma is eye drops. These topical medications work by decreasing the eye pressure if used appropriately. For individuals who do not tolerate or respond to eye drops, laser procedure can be performed which improve the fluid outflow from the eye.
#5) How is glaucoma diagnosed? The only way to diagnose glaucoma is a complete eye exam with dilation. To dilate the eye, drops are placed in each eye to widen the pupil and allow better viewing of the inside of the eye. After the doctors test your vision, they will measure your eye pressure, perform a Visual Field test and examine your optic nerve for signs of glaucoma.
Glaucoma damage is permanent – so PREVENTION is KEY! Early detection and treatment is vitally important to prevent vision issues.
During National Glaucoma Awareness Month, we are excited to announce FREE glaucoma screenings at all four of our locations. Call us to sign up for your FREE glaucoma screening during the month of January.
Bryant – All of January (501) 653-2010
Pine Bluff – January 23 (870) 536-4100
Little Rock – All of January (501) 830-2020
Hot Springs – January 31 (501) 318-1111