Dispelling Common Myths about Glaucoma
Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of vision loss and blindness in the world. But despite how common it is, the disease is often misunderstood. Many people do not understand who is affected by glaucoma and how severe the disease can be.
To help clear up some of the misunderstandings, Dr. Gregory Johnson and Dr. Gail Kelley of Intracoastal Eye dispel four common glaucoma myths here.
Myth #1: There is only one type of glaucoma
Actually, there are over 40 different types of glaucoma. Two primary types are open-angle glaucoma and angle-closure glaucoma. The “angle” refers to the drainage angle, or point between the iris and cornea where fluid exits the eye. Normally the amount of fluid circulating in the eye and the amount that drains from the eye through the angle are properly balanced. But if fluid fails to drain properly, it disrupts the pressure inside the eye (intraocular pressure).
In open-angle glaucoma, the drainage angle remains open, yet fluid drains very slowly from the eye (similar to a clogged kitchen drain). As a result, intraocular pressure rises gradually. Open-angle glaucoma develops very slowly and the symptoms are usually not noticeable.
In angle-closure glaucoma, the angle closes or becomes blocked, and this causes the intraocular pressure to rise. Rarely, there can be a sudden spike in eye pressure with noticeable symptoms like eye pain, headaches, nausea and vomiting.
Myth #2: If you have no symptoms, you don’t have glaucoma
If you have open-angle glaucoma, you may not notice any symptoms or changes in your vision until the disease has reached the moderate or advanced stages. By that time, you may have already lost some of your vision and it cannot be restored.
Myth #3: Glaucoma exclusively affects older adults
Glaucoma most commonly affects adults over the age of 50; however, it can affect people of any age. African Americans, people with diabetes or those with a family history of glaucoma are at an increased risk of developing glaucoma.
Myth #4: Glaucoma is curable
Currently there is no cure for glaucoma. However, glaucoma can be managed with the help of an experienced eye doctor. Eye pressure can usually be controlled either with laser therapy or with medicated eye drops. In the most severe cases, traditional surgery in the operating room is needed. Fortunately, with modern medicines and lasers, incisional surgery can usually be avoided.
If you have been diagnosed with glaucoma, are over the age of 50 or if you have other risk factors, you should consult with the eye experts at Intracoastal Eye. Catching glaucoma early offers the best chances at preserving your vision.
To schedule an appointment at Intracoastal Eye, please call (910) 777-8254 or email us today.