Catching Glaucoma Early:
What Signs Should I Look For?
Glaucoma is an eye disease that’s sometimes called the “silent thief of sight,” because you often don’t notice it until it becomes a problem. Many people won’t even experience symptoms until irreversible vision loss has already occurred. This is part of why glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness in the world.
As scary as that might sound, we’d like to take a step back and help you learn a little more about glaucoma and how annual comprehensive eye exams can help you stay one step ahead of this vision-threatening condition.
What Is Glaucoma, and What Causes It?
Glaucoma is caused by a sustained increase in pressure inside the eye (or intraocular pressure, also known as IOP) due to a buildup of fluid. Normally, this fluid drains through natural channels in the eye, but when it doesn’t, this poses serious issues. Increased pressure can press on the optic nerve — the structure that sends information to the brain — damaging it enough to cause vision loss.
Since glaucoma causes IOP to rise slowly over time, blind spots and patches will begin developing gradually in your peripheral vision; this leads to “tunnel vision” and eventually blindness if left untreated. Regular eye exams will test
your IOP, so an annual eye exam is the best way to catch glaucoma early on.
Am I At Risk for Glaucoma?
There are a number of risk factors for glaucoma, including:
- Severe nearsightedness or farsightedness
Several of these risk factors are ones you might already be aware of, such as whether or not glaucoma runs in your family, which puts you at a higher risk. But if any of the above apply to you, we recommend scheduling regular exams.
How Do I Prevent Glaucoma?
Unfortunately, there’s no preventing glaucoma — only slowing or stopping the progression. This is why making sure you undergo regular eye exams is absolutely critical, even if you don’t wear corrective eyewear or have vision issues. If it’s caught early, glaucoma can be addressed in time to save your vision.
Without these professional evaluations, you might miss some of the early warning signs of glaucoma. If any abnormalities are detected, such as an increase in your IOP, your eye doctor will be able to help you manage glaucoma and monitor its progression before permanent vision loss occurs.
Glaucoma Management near Austin, TX
Whether or not glaucoma runs in your family, it’s important to undergo an annual eye exam, especially since the earliest signs of many eye diseases may not be noticeable on your own. At Bristol Family Eyecare, glaucoma is one of our areas of expertise, as Dr. Kindla and Dr. Bristol are both certified Optometric Glaucoma Specialists. Schedule an exam at any Bristol location and we can help keep you healthy and seeing clearly.