Glaucoma causes progressive and permanent vision loss due to a buildup of pressure in the eyeball. The disease presents itself in two common forms — primary open-angle glaucoma and angle-closure glaucoma. Unfortunately, both have their own unique and subtle set of symptoms, in which the unaffected eye counterbalances the vision loss in the affected eye.
Primary open-angle glaucoma, the most common type, begins in the peripheral vision and works inward to incapacitate central vision, leading to tunnel vision, while acute angle closure glaucoma (also called chronic angle-closure or narrow-angle glaucoma) causes blurred vision with halo effects. Both types cause the irreversible and gradual damage of the optic nerve (which is responsible for sending visual information from the retina to the brain). The slow decline of sight often means the condition isn’t diagnosed until an advanced stage.
You can prevent glaucoma with regular optical exams (with a visual field test) and also by remaining watching for subtle warning signs. Twelve risk factors for glaucoma are…
1. Advanced Age
As with many other health conditions, advanced age puts you at an increased risk for developing glaucoma, particularly if you are 60-years of age or older. Unfortunately, for some people of African-American descent, the risk increases much earlier (i.e., around the age of 40). People who fall into a high-risk age group should be getting an eye exam on a regular basis, about once a year.