A serious eye condition that affects millions of American each year, glaucoma is one of the leading causes of blindness worldwide. Because it does not cause pain or any noticeable changes in vision in its early stages, the disease can cause severe damage to the optic nerve before a patient seeks medical attention. Regular and comprehensive eye exams can help your ophthalmologist diagnose the disease early on and recommend the appropriate treatment. Certain risk factors can make some patients more vulnerable to the disease, so talk to Dr. Gerstein about your medical history if you recognize the risk factors below.
- Increased Intraocular Pressure: Mild cases of increased eye pressure, also known as ocular hypertension, generally do not manifest noticeable symptoms, although it can cause severe eye pain, headaches, loss of vision, and eventually develop into glaucoma if left untreated. During an eye exam, your ophthalmologist will use a device called a tonometer to measure internal eye pressure and, if necessary, prescribe medication to reduce it. Studies from the Ocular Hypertension Treatment Study have shown that patients who treat their ocular hypertension are at lower risk for developing glaucoma.
- Age, Ethnicity, and Family History: While the risk of developing glaucoma increases in all adults over the age of 60, research shows that certain ethnic backgrounds may increase a patient’s risk of glaucoma. A family history of glaucoma, diabetes, and hypertension also raises the risk of developing the disease.
- Medications, Surgery, and Injuries: Previous eye surgery may also raise the risk of developing nearsightedness, a condition that can, in turn, increase a patient’s risk of glaucoma. Additionally, any eye trauma can cause secondary glaucoma, sometimes months or even years later. Patients who use corticosteroids may also develop secondary glaucoma.
For more information about diagnosing and treating glaucoma, please visit the Gerstein Eye Institute. One of the leading eye centers in Chicago and Illinois, the Gerstein Eye Institute has decades of experience treating patients with the most advanced technology and greatest care. To schedule a consultation please call us at (773) 973-3223.