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Posts Tagged ‘glaucoma’

January is National Glaucoma Awareness Month. By Our Student Pharmacist, Adam Storc.

glaucoma vision

With hindsight being 2020 (especially in 2021), January marks the beginning of National Glaucoma Awareness Month so we here at Plain City Druggist thought that it might be helpful to discuss just what glaucoma is and how to watch out for early signs that you might be developing it.

What is Glaucoma?

Glaucoma is the slow loss of vision caused by damage to the optic nerve situated at the back of your eye. More specifically, open-angle glaucoma is the most common type in the United States and is most often caused by increased eye pressure damaging your optic nerve. Currently, glaucoma is not curable, but early treatment with medication and/or surgery can help prevent further damage and loss of sight.

Glaucoma Signs and Symptoms:

  • Loss of peripheral (or side) vision, most often the area closest to your nose or the outer edges of your vision
  • Untreated glaucoma can lead to blindness

Who is Most at Risk?

  • Patients over the age of 60
  • African American or Hispanic patients over the age of 40
  • Patients with a family history of glaucoma

Prevention and Treatment:

Because glaucoma is a disease that gets worse over time and the damage done to your sight is irreversible, prevention and early treatment are the key to stopping the damage from glaucoma before it causes sight loss or blindness because once the damage is done, it cannot be undone.

Glaucoma can be difficult to notice for many patients because it happens slowly and starts at the edges of the vision, so it is important to have regular eye exams which can detect early glaucoma and help treat it before more permanent damage is done.

If an eye doctor detects glaucoma, usually through a dilated eye exam, there are a few different treatment options to protect your eyes. These include:

  • Medications: Your doctor may prescribe daily eye drops, such as latanoprost and/or timolol, to lower the pressure in your eye or reduce the fluid build-up. These medications may not make you feel any differently, but are important to take regularly since they will prevent future damage to your eyes.
  • Laser therapy: You may also qualify for a quick and simple laser treatment to help drain the fluid from your eyes. The treatment can be done on one or both eyes while at the eye doctor’s office and most patients recover on the same day as the procedure. It may take 4-6 weeks to work, however, and does not work for everyone, so consult your eye doctor to see if laser therapy is an option for you.
  • Surgery: Your doctor may recommend traditional surgery if medications or lasers fail to reduce the pressure in your eye(s). This option is least common and has the longest recovery time.

In conclusion, make 2021 a healthier year by getting a routine eye exam and maybe you can avoid adding eye drops to your list of medications in the new year.