WHAT IS GLAUCOMA?
Glaucoma causes pressure in the eye, damaging the optic nerve and causing irreversible loss of vision around the edge of the eye, or “tunnel vision.”
If left untreated, the disease can lead to total blindness — but treatments such as medications and surgery can halt progression of the disease. These interventions are most effective when glaucoma is diagnosed in its early stages.
Glaucoma is the country’s leading cause of blindness, affecting an estimated 3 million Americans of all ages. About half of these individuals have not been diagnosed and may be unaware that they have a potentially treatable disease.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF GLAUCOMA?
Glaucoma causes loss of peripheral vision, first noticeable in dark patches around the edges of the eyes. Later stages of the disease can cause tunnel vision and, if not treated, blindness.
WHAT CAUSES GLAUCOMA?
The optic nerve, located at the back of the eye, carries visual information from the eye to the brain. Glaucoma causes a buildup of excess fluid in the eye that puts increasing pressure on the optic nerve, leading to permanent damage of nerve fibers.
You are at higher risk for glaucoma if:
- Someone in your family developed glaucoma
- You are African-American and over age 40
- You are Latino and over age 60
- You have diabetes, hypertension (high blood pressure) or extreme nearsightedness
WHAT ARE THE TREATMENT OPTIONS FOR GLAUCOMA?
Annual eye exams are the best way to ensure glaucoma is diagnosed and treated as early as possible to help preserve irreversible vision loss.
If you are diagnosed with glaucoma, your doctor will help decide the best course of treatment, which may include medicated eye drops, oral medications, or laser or traditional surgery. The optimal treatment depends on your specific type of glaucoma:
- acute (angle closure) glaucoma
- chronic (open-angle) glaucoma — the most common type
- normal tension glaucoma
- secondary glaucoma
Losing vision doesn’t mean giving up on your life activities, it just means learning new ways to do them.
Braille Institute’s FREE Low Vision Rehabilitation Service includes personalized one-on-one appointments with Low Vision Specialists that will work with you to maximize your remaining vision by:
- Assessing your particular needs
- Providing practical tips on lighting, contrast enhancement and glare control
- Exploring devices that can help you accomplish everyday tasks like reading, watching TV, and more
In addition to appointments with Low Vision Specialists, Braille Institute’s regional centers offer a variety of programs and services for the blind and visually impaired including Independent Living Skills classes, Orientation & Mobility training, one-on-one technology classes, audio and braille books, and much more.
To learn more or to schedule a FREE one-on-one appointment with one of our Low Vision Specialists, call 1-800-BRAILLE (272-4553).