HealthDay News) --
Glaucoma is a progressive disease of the eye that eventually causes blindness if untreated and is the leading cause of irreversible vision loss.
Glaucoma is a disease that affects three million Americans, half of whom do not know they have it because of its lack of early symptoms. While early glaucoma may not reveal symptoms, the eye is still being damaged by the disease.
Advances in glaucoma treatment are only beneficial when the disease is detected early. By the time people realize they are losing vision, the vision they have already lost is gone forever.
Here are some common risk factors, courtesy of the Glaucoma Foundation:
- Being black or Hispanic.
- Being 60 years or older.
- Having family members with glaucoma.
- Being Asian makes you more prone to a specific type called angle closure glaucoma.
- Having a prior eye injury or ocular vascular accident.
- Being diabetic.
- Being nearsighted.
- Having high blood pressure.
Those in higher risk groups should get a dilated eye exam in which drops are placed in the eye to dilate the pupils at yearly. A dilated eye exam allows the doctor to obtain a better view of the eye's optic nerve to look for early signs of glaucoma.
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