Glaucoma Screening in Older People
Too many people are neglecting their eyes and this includes elderly individuals who have a higher risk for the disease. Glaucoma is basically an elevated pressure in the fluid of the eyes and can lead to blindness. Glaucoma doesn’t have to hurt and the only way you can know for sure you don’t have it (or do have it) is to be screened for the disease. Elevated pressure in the eye can damage the optic nerve and this can lead to a permanent loss of vision.
There are two types of glaucoma you should be aware of. The first is called open-angle glaucoma and is the result of a blockage of the drainage canals in the eye that drain the vitreous humor or liquid within the eye. There is an increase in the amount of this eye fluid leading to an increase in the eye pressure. Damage to the optic nerve happens when you have sustained elevated pressure in the eye. Open angle glaucoma is the most common type of glaucoma, affecting about 78-90 percent of all glaucoma patients. This translates to about three million US sufferers, most of them elderly.
The second type of glaucoma is called angle closure glaucoma. It is rarer but is generally considered more dangerous because it can come on quite suddenly and affect vision more acutely. The basis behind angle closure glaucoma is the fact that the space between the iris and the cornea shrinks to become too small for eye fluid to drain out of the eye itself. Blockage occurs and the pressure increases quickly within the eye.
You need to be prepared to have your glaucoma treated as soon as possible to prevent blindness from occurring.
There are several kinds of eyedrops that effectively lower the pressure in the eye. Glaucoma cannot be cued without surgery and you need to be on the eyedrops your entire life in order to spare your eyes further damage. You will need to see an ophthalmologist or eye specialist who can manage the condition.
Screening for glaucoma can be done easily at the clinic equipped with the equipment. There are several ways to measure pressure in the eye, all of which are non-invasive screening tests. There should be no delay in treatment to have the best possible outcome.
If you are a senior, you should expect get your eyes screened for glaucoma every year. Because the disease can be asymptomatic, there is no excuse to wait until you have symptoms to be screened.