When you hear about glaucoma, many facts and thoughts must cross your mind. It refers to a group of eye conditions that affect millions of people and can be attributed as a major cause of vision loss that can ultimately lead up to total blindness in the absence of treatment. Because glaucoma shows little to no symptoms in the early stages, it can be very difficult for the person to identify that there’s a problem. A better understanding of what glaucoma is will certainly help you become more prepared to face this eye disease and seek help in time.

What is Glaucoma and What It Does?

Glaucoma basically causes damage to the optic nerve in your eye. It is this nerve that is responsible for carrying visual messages to the brain. So naturally any damage to the optic nerve will seriously impact your ability to see. The reason behind this damage of the optic nerve is the pressure of the fluid build-up in the anterior section of the eye. As the amount of fluid increases in this area of the eye, the pressure within the eye builds up too. And it is this high pressure inside the eye that ends up impairing optic nerve.

There are different categories of glaucoma, which mainly include normal tension glaucoma, congenital glaucoma, open angle glaucoma, angle closure glaucoma, and secondary glaucoma. Out of these types, open angle glaucoma is the most common one.

Risk Factors for Glaucoma

The reason why it is necessary to catch glaucoma in time is because the disease causes irreversible damage to the optic nerve. What this means is that it will not be possible to restore the vision that is lost as a result of the damage to the optic nerve. And since the symptoms of glaucoma aren’t evident early on, one has to be even more careful.

Following are some common risk factors for glaucoma that you should be aware about:

  • A history of glaucoma running in the family.

  • People who are over the age of 40.

  • Ethnicity also plays a role since people of Asian, Hispanic, and African ethnic backgrounds are more prone to glaucoma.

  • An injury to the eye.

  • Prolonged use of steroid medications.

  • Health conditions like high blood pressure and diabetes can also put you at risk.

How to be Prepared for Glaucoma?

Above are just some of the key risk factors for glaucoma that you should be watching out for. To detect glaucoma before it progresses and does irreparable damage, you should get comprehensive eye exams done for glaucoma at regular intervals, especially if any of the risk factors hold true for you. Regular eye exams will enable the detection of the disease in its early stages and control the damage to your vision.

You can also make positive changes in your lifestyle to lower your risk of glaucoma. These healthy lifestyle changes include managing your blood pressure, exercising, avoiding smoking, eating foods that are good for eyes, and restricting caffeine consumption.

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