Although it is estimated that roughly three million Americans suffer from glaucoma eye disease, half of these cases remain undiagnosed. So it is critical, especially for young children who are still able to mitigate best the effects of the disease, to determine whether or not they may suffer from the disease. Here are a few telltale signs that you may have glaucoma.
Initial Signs of Glaucoma
One of the most troublesome aspects of glaucoma is that during its initial onset, there are no clear symptoms. A person’s vision remains normal, and there is no discernible pain, even though the constriction of the optic nerve that connects the retinas of one or both eyes to the brain has begun. It isn’t until the beginning of loss of peripheral vision that an individual who has not undergone testing will become aware of their condition.
Forms of Glaucoma
It is recommended that children and adults who have not yet been tested for glaucoma submit to a comprehensive eye exam that includes the use of numbing eye drops. The most common form of glaucoma, chronic open-angle, derives its name from the fact that the open-angled drainage of one or both eyes becomes gradually blocked, resulting in increased pressure on the optic nerve. Other forms of glaucoma include the more severe drain blockage of angle-closure, as well as low-tension glaucoma, normal tension glaucoma and exfoliation syndrome, an open-angle that involves the abnormal build-up of a whitish material in a person’s eyes.
Studies have shown that Glaucoma is five times more likely to occur in African Americans than Caucasians and that the severity of the affliction can also be much more acute among the former group than the latter. However, if chronic open-angle glaucoma is detected early enough, its progress can be slowed. Although treatments such as medicine, laser trabeculoplasty and conventional surgery cannot reverse any damage to the eyes already incurred through glaucoma, these procedures can save remaining vision. Conventional surgery is 60 to 80% effective in treating glaucoma; the second round of procedures is sometimes required and those who have had previous operations for eye conditions such as cataracts will be subject to a lower level of statistical success.
In 2010, the National Eye Institute reported the findings of the first comprehensive eye testing of Hispanics and found that, like African Americans, they are statistically more susceptible to the onset of glaucoma than Caucasians.
“Facts About Glaucoma,” University of Maryland School of Medicine Mini-Medschool, N.p., n.d. Web. 8 July 2010. http://medschool.umaryland.edu/minimed/fact_glaucoma.asp>
“New Insights Into Glaucoma: Sight Saving Diagnosis and Prevention,” The University Hospital, University of Medicine & Dentistry of New Jersey: Health Link, N.p., Spring 2006. Web. 8 July 2010. http://www.theuniversityhospital.com/healthlink/archives/articles/glaucoma.html
“Facts about Glaucoma,” National Eye Institute, National Institute of Health, N.p., n.d. Web. 8 July 2010. http://www.nei.nih.gov/health/glaucoma/glaucoma_facts.asp#5a.