January 8, 2016

Protect Vision from Glaucoma with Annual Eye Exam

In honor of Glaucoma Awareness Month, MyEyeDr. sets sights on early detection.

Hunt Valley-Cockeysville, MD

By ELLEN LAFFERTY

Often called the “silent thief of sight,” glaucoma slowly damages the optic nerve and can cause irreparable harm before the first noticeable symptom appears. Patients with glaucoma often—but not always—have higher than normal intra-ocular pressures. Individuals should schedule annual eye exams to ensure early detection and protect their vision from the leading cause of vision loss and blindness in the United States.

In recognition of Glaucoma Awareness Month, MyEyeDr. is offering insights on glaucoma risk factors and the best ways to manage the disease to prevent vision loss. There are various factors that increase the risk for developing glaucoma including:

  • Age. Are you 60 years of age or older? Individuals over the age of 60 are at increased risk for glaucoma. This risk continues to increase with each year of age.
  • Family history of glaucoma. Do you have a parent or grandparent who was diagnosed with glaucoma? A family history of the disease increases likelihood of developing glaucoma by about 20 percent (according to the Glaucoma Research Foundation). Start a conversation with your loved ones and ask about their medical history.
  • Existing medical conditions. Do you currently suffer from diabetes, high blood pressure or heart disease? You may be at a greater risk for glaucoma. Communicate with your optometrist about your medical conditions.

There is no cure for glaucoma, but there are treatments available. Today’s treatments are designed to help lower or manage the internal pressure of the eye. The most common method for managing ocular pressure is medication in the form of eye drops. Some patients are treated with laser therapies which effect the natural internal fluid balance in the eye to control pressure. Conventional surgery is another option that can alter the anatomy of the eye to enhance the way fluid drains.

“More than three million individuals in the United States suffer from glaucoma, and unfortunately the Glaucoma Research Foundation projects the numbers to increase to 4.2 million by 2030,” said Dr. Artis Beatty, vice president of professional services at MyEyeDr. “Glaucoma has virtually no symptoms so make sure to schedule annual eye exams to catch glaucoma early and prevent significant vision loss.”

MyEyeDr. works closely with individuals to detect glaucoma early and to prevent further vision loss due to the disease. Our trusted community doctors provide exceptional eye care services to all patients. To detect and treat glaucoma and other vision issues early on, schedule your next eye exam.