As of 2020, approximately 3 million Americans live with glaucoma. Sadly, while glaucoma is the second leading reason why people become blind globally, only half of the people with the condition are aware they have it.

The best way to fight glaucoma is to know as much about the condition as possible.  In this article, we tell you all you need to know about glaucoma, including the early signs of glaucoma. Read on to learn more. 

What Is Glaucoma?

Glaucoma refers to a group of eye disorders that destroy your optic nerve. These disorders are among the top forms of optic nerve damage that cause vision loss. 

Usually, fluid forms in the front part of the patient’s eye. The fluid build-up exerts pressure on the affected eye, destroying the patient’s optic nerve over time. 

People with normal eye pressure can still suffer from glaucoma. When left untreated, glaucoma can cause permanent vision loss.

Why Is the Optic Nerve So Crucial?

The optic nerve plays a vital role in your vision. Its work is to send signals from your retina to the brain. Without these signals, your brain can’t create images.

That’s what makes glaucoma so dangerous. By damaging your optic nerve, glaucoma can eventually cause irreversible vision loss.

What Are the Early Signs of Glaucoma?

The ability to recognize the early warning signs of glaucoma is essential in getting timely treatment. The only problem is that glaucoma tends to develop slowly. That’s why many people with the condition do not notice it in the beginning. 

So how do you improve the chances of early detection? The best way is to visit a reputable Lexington eye doctor regularly. An eye doctor should be able to pick up even the slightest symptoms of the condition during your routine eye tests.

So, what signs characterize glaucoma? Generally, glaucoma symptoms may vary depending on the specific type of glaucoma you have. However, if you experience blurred vision or start to see rainbow-colored circles when staring at bright lights, chances are you have glaucoma. 

Other symptoms include red eyes, intense pain in one or both eyes, headaches, nausea and vomiting, and tenderness around your eyes. See a specialist in eye health right away if you experience these signs.

Who Is at Risk of Glaucoma?

Anyone can get glaucoma, regardless of age, race, and gender. However, the risk of contracting the condition increases as you get older. 

Latinos and African Americans are also more likely to get the disease and at an earlier age than other races. Asian populations tend to develop angle-closure glaucoma than other populations. 

Other risk factors are:

  • Diabetes
  • Having a family history of the disorder
  • High blood pressure
  • Farsightedness
  • Myopia
  • Previous eye surgery or injury
  • Continued use of corticosteroids
  • Getting eye tests at least twice a year should help reveal whether you are developing glaucoma or not.

Types of Glaucoma

Glaucoma comes in several different types. Let’s look at four of the commonest.

Open-Angle Glaucoma

Open-angle glaucoma is by far the most common in America. This type of glaucoma affects at least 2.7 million Americans, which is 90 percent of people who have glaucoma in the country. 

Open-angle glaucoma occurs as a result of the build-up of tiny deposits in your eyes’ drainage canals. Over time, these deposits slowly clog the eyes. 

In the beginning, the drainage canals seem to be open and working normally. After months or years, however, the deposits force fluid to build up and start to exert pressure on your optic nerve. People with this disorder may go for years without noticing it as they don’t have any symptoms.

Closed-Angle Glaucoma

This type of glaucoma is also referred to as narrow-angle glaucoma or angle-closure. It’s a rare type of glaucoma that comes develops suddenly. 

Closed-angle glaucoma happens due to the angle between your iris and the cornea being too narrow. Consequently, there’s a blockage of the drainage canals, preventing fluid from flowing from the eye. Eye pressure builds up acutely, leading to eye pain and frequent headaches.

In many cases, symptoms of closed-angle glaucoma are so severe that you may require prompt medical attention.

Normal-Tension Glaucoma

Many people still develop optic nerve damage when their eye pressure is normal. There’s no specific explanation of why this happens. Normal-tension glaucoma is most common among Asian and Asian-American populations.  

Congenital Glaucoma

Congenital glaucoma occurs when a baby’s drainage canals didn’t form correctly in their mothers’ wombs. Your physician may catch this type of glaucoma at birth.

Sometimes, the signs of congenital glaucoma develop during childhood. Either way, you’ll need to consult your regular Kentucky eye doctor for a solution. 

Tips for Living Better With Glaucoma

At the moment, there isn’t a known cure for glaucoma. However, there steps you can take to slow or prevent the disorder’s progression, especially after early detection. Below are three of them.

Adhere to Your Medications

After glaucoma diagnosis, your eye care expert will most likely prescribe a variety of eye drops to help you manage the disorder. Be sure to maintain the recommended schedule by taking the correct dosage on time. If need be, set alerts and alarms to remind you of the right time to take your medications.

Beware of Falls and Accidents

For many glaucoma patients, the risk of accidents and falls is higher. That’s due to the increasing loss of vision as a result of the disorder. To avoid these accidents, it’s best to make clear boundaries around your home.

Keep a Healthy Lifestyle

Exercise is vital for improving your health, including your eyes. Each weak, be sure to exercise several times. Your doctor should be able to recommend the right exercise routine for you.

Generally, you want to avoid exercises that require your head below your heart as they put pressure on your eyes. Avoid lifting heavy weights for the same reason too.

Don’t Let Glaucoma Keep You Down

While Glaucoma doesn’t have a known cure, being diagnosed with the disease shouldn’t seem like the end of life for you. Once you’ve spotted the early signs of glaucoma, you can take the right steps to stop or slow its advancement and live an ordinary life. 

Are you looking for reliable eye care? Please contact us today.