An estimated 2.2 million suffer from this debilitating disease, but half of that number don't know it. How can this be? The unfortunate truth is that glaucoma can be hard to predict, and even harder to recognize it once it happens. Here are a few factors that can help determine if you're at risk for developing the eye condition that is the most common cause of blindness in the world—and if you are, what you should do about it.
Factor #1: Age
Glaucoma tends to strike more often with adults over the age of forty. While reaching this age doesn't cause glaucoma, it does make you more at risk.
Factor #2: Race
Scientists are still puzzled as to why different diseases tend to effect different races in larger numbers, but the one thing they do know is that it happens. African Americans are up to three times more likely to develop glaucoma (especially open-angle glaucoma, which tends to be slower and more subtle). Other people that are known to have a predisposition are those of Irish, Scandinavian, Russian, Japanese, Hispanic, and/or Inuit descent.
Factor #3: Sex
Gender can also be a factor—women, due to the fact that their anterior chambers in their eyes tend to be shallower, are 3 times more likely than men to contract glaucoma.
Factor #4: Damage to the Eye
This one isn't as set in stone as the other factors, but is a good—not to mention timely—predictor. When trauma to the eye occurs, it can throw off the pressure within the eye, which can result in the quick onset of glaucoma. If you receive trauma to your eye (or near your eye), it's a good idea to make a stop by the optometrist's office after you go to your family doctor.
So what do you do about it?
If you have one of these factors, it's a good idea to get checked by your optometrist (like those at North Central Eye Associates Inc) semi-regularly. If you have a combination of these factors, however, your risk goes up and you should make sure to see your optometrist at least once a year, if not more regularly.
If you start seeing halos around objects, if your vision narrows into tunnel vision, or if you notice your eye is continually red or irritated, go see your optometrist at the earliest date possible.
Vision loss from glaucoma can't be replaced. But the earlier you catch it, the less damage it will do, and the sooner you can go back to living your life.
I was badly injured a year ago, and it took a long time to get back to my normal level of ability. One of the things that helped more than anything was the time that I spent in physical therapy. I didn’t always love going to physical therapy – in fact, sometimes, I really didn’t enjoy it at all. But ultimately, the therapists and other patients I worked with helped inspire me to get better, and the exercises facilitated my healing process. I started this blog to talk about all of the things I learned about physical therapy and healing during my recovery time. I hope my blog reaches other accident victims. I want to offer encouragement, hope, and information for people who are in the same boat that I was in.