Open-angle glaucoma is not called “the silent thief of sight” for no reason. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that of the approximately three million Americans that have glaucoma, 50 percent are unaware that they have the disease. The CDC adds that the most common type is open-angle glaucoma.
The challenge with diagnosing open-angle glaucoma is it does not show early symptoms. By the time most patients become aware of their situation, the disease has already advanced to an extent that their sight is already partially compromised. Moreover, there’s still no cure for glaucoma. What specialists do, and what we do at Eye Surgeons of Indiana as well, is to provide glaucoma treatment options that can prevent further vision impairment and permanent blindness.
How should people deal with this disease if there’s little chance for early detection?
Allow us to offer some tips on how to detect glaucoma and the signs that you need to keep a close watch on.
Open-angle glaucoma can happen to anyone at any age, but the risk is higher for the following:
● People 60 years and older
● People with a family history of glaucoma
● African Americans 40 years and older
● People with diabetes
Specialists warn that smoking, habitual drinking, obesity, anxiety, stress, and sleep apnea further increases a person’s risk of developing open-angle glaucoma.
Since the goal is early detection, we recommend consulting an eye specialist when you reach the high-risk age bracket or if you check out on a couple of the high-risk characteristics listed above.
Open-angle glaucoma occurs when the fluid that is pumped into the eye does not drain properly. In open-angle glaucoma, the drainage structure for the eye appears normal without obstruction (this explains the difficulty of detecting the disease at an early stage). In fact, patients can still have perfect 20/20 central vision, which makes it more difficult to notice changes in their peripheral vision.
Since the diseased eye suffers from clogged drainage canals on a microscopic level (meaning we cannot visualize this), patients may eventually experience increased internal eye pressure and optic nerve damage. The damage is gradual, however, which means that patients are unlikely to feel pain (eye pain is more typical of another type of glaucoma, which is acute closure glaucoma).
It’s important to schedule an appointment with an eye care specialist as soon as possible if you suspect that you have the disease. Early detection is key to prevent further vision loss.
Patients who visit our clinic at Eye Surgeons of Indiana will receive recommendations for open-angle glaucoma treatment. We offer several treatment options, including prescription eye drops, laser surgery, implantable sustained-release medication, and microinvasive glaucoma surgery (MIGS).
Expect an evaluation, after which our specialists will recommend the treatment that will be most effective given the stage of the disease. Some of our treatment options can be administered at home; rest assured that adequate instructions will be provided.
Don’t let this silent thief take your eyesight away. Seek a checkup and treatment at Eye Surgeons of Indiana. Contact us to book your evaluation.