Glaucoma. You may have heard of it, but do you know what it is and how it can affect you? Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of blindness in people living in Canada, and this means that it touches the lives of many Canadians and their families.

The first step to prevention is educating yourself about how you can protect your eyes from glaucoma. That’s where we come in – take a look below to find out more about what Glaucoma is and how it can be managed.

Comprehensive Eye Exams

While it is a common misconception that Glaucoma is a specific ailment, it is actually a group of eye diseases which cause a degeneration of the optic nerve. Once the optic nerve begins to deteriorate, it can lead to gradual vision loss and potential blindness. Once lost, this vision damage is impossible to repair. Luckily, many forms of Glaucoma can be caught and treated early to avoid this stage. One of the most common types of Glaucoma is primary open angle Glaucoma, which happens when there is an imbalance of fluid in the eye which can lead to compression of the optic nerve.

There is no one cause of Glaucoma, but it is often caused by a high fluid pressure in the eye. Why would there be too much fluid in your eyes? This can happen due to a damaged or slow eye drainage system, a blocked drainage system, or a nearby infection or tumor. Other types of Glaucoma occur with normal eye pressure, and the cause is unknown. Some forms of Glaucoma such as angle-closure Glaucoma can onset very quickly and are considered a medical emergency that can cause eyesight loss within hours. When vision loss does occur, it is the peripheral vision that will be lost first.

As the most common types of Glaucoma can develop painlessly, it is important to know how you can detect Glaucoma in yourself or others. Unfortunately, these types of Glaucoma can only be detected through a comprehensive eye examination by your eyecare professional. For more aggressive forms of Glaucoma, symptoms such as nausea, eye pain, redness, blurred vision, or visible halos may occur. There are a few populations that are more at risk of developing Glaucoma, and therefore these individuals should be sure to have regular eye examinations. Those groups are: people over the age of 60, people with a family history of Glaucoma, people suffering from diabetes or heart disease, those who have suffered severe eye trauma, and those who have used corticosteroids for prolonged periods of time.

The good news is that if Glaucoma is detected early, treatments such as eye drops or laser surgery can often help prevent vision loss in the future. The best way to detect Glaucoma early is to have regular comprehensive eye exams from our Optometrist and take your eye health seriously!

Several eye diseases require exams on a more regular basis as well to ensure one’s eye health.

The most common of these are:
• Glaucoma
• Keratoconus
• Macular Degeneration
• Cataracts

Patients over 65 need to have their eyes examined yearly. The majority of vision-based diseases lack symptoms in their early stages, making early detection through eye examination even more important.

These diseases include, but are not limited to:
• Glaucoma
• Age Related Macular Degeneration
• Cataracts

Yearly exams are important since children often do not know if they are having a problem. It is common for one eye to develop an ocular issue while the other compensates. The earlier an eye problem is detected with a child, the better the end result after treatment.

Some common issues with children’s eyes include:
• Amblyopia
• Strabismus
• Refractive Error

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