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5 things you should know about glaucoma

Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of blindness for people over 60, yet many people are not sure what it is. During National Glaucoma Awareness Month in January, efforts are being made to educate the public about this serious eye condition. Many forms of glaucoma have no warning signs and gradually take away vision. A person can lose up to 40% of their vision from glaucoma without realizing it. Currently more than 3 million people in the United States have glaucoma, according to the National Eye Institute, and those numbers are expected to rise to 4.2 million during the next decade. Eye professionals estimate that about half the people who have glaucoma don’t know they have it and are slowly heading toward future blindness without being aware. Vision loss from glaucoma can’t be recovered, so it is important to take steps to check for it so it can be treated early.

What causes glaucoma?

Glaucoma is a group of eye conditions that negatively affect the optic nerve. The damage to the nerve is usually related to abnormally high eye pressure. The increased pressure can be from excess fluid or improper fluid drainage.

What are the symptoms of glaucoma?

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There are two major types of glaucoma and each type has different signs. Open-angle glaucoma symptoms include random blind spots, usually in both eyes, and tunnel vision. Acute angle-closure glaucoma signs might include headaches, eye pain, blurred vision, redness in the eye or visions of halos around lights. The progression of glaucoma is gradual and, if not treated, can lead to blindness. If detected early, treatment can slow the progression of the disease but can’t reverse any damage that has occurred. The treatment for glaucoma will need to be continued for the rest of your life. Even with treatment, about 15% of the people with glaucoma will lose vision in at least one eye over a period of 20 years. See a doctor if you experience any of these symptoms so they can properly check for glaucoma.

Who is at risk for glaucoma?

People with diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure or sickle cell anemia are at a higher risk for developing glaucoma. Suffering an eye injury and undergoing eye surgery can also increase the chances of developing the condition. Certain ethnic groups including Black, Asian and Hispanic people have an increased risk. Being over the age of 60 or having a family history of the disease can also increase the possibility of developing glaucoma.

What can be done to protect my vision?

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Detecting glaucoma in its early stages is the best way to slow the progression of the condition. Get regular comprehensive eye examinations where eye pressure is measured. People who are older than 65 should be screened every one to two years. If you have relatives who have had glaucoma, it may be necessary to get more frequent screenings. Since eye injury can increase the chances of developing glaucoma, be sure to wear eye protection when working with tools or in other hazardous situations. Regular exercise can help prevent glaucoma since moderate exercise can reduce eye pressure. If a doctor prescribes eye drops to reduce eye pressure, be sure to use them daily even if you have no symptoms.

Taking steps to stay healthy

Staying healthy involves many things — from regular eye exams to physicals. An accurate medical record allows your physician to help you effectively preserve your health. After an unexpected illness or medical event, it is important to continue addressing all medical needs to remain healthy. This can be a daunting challenge, which is why many people wisely choose to recover in a short-term care facility where experienced professionals are working around the clock to be sure all medical needs are addressed in a timely manner. Glenview Terrace offers this expert care in an elegant setting, making it an ideal choice for recovery.

For outstanding one-on-one therapy and truly expert care, choose Glenview Terrace, where the focus is always to help get you back to the independent lifestyle you desire. Focusing on healthcare excellence and safety, Glenview Terrace provides the latest infection-control precautions, including routine COVID-19 testing and monitoring. Glenview Terrace is also ranked among the top post-hospital rehabilitation and nursing care centers in Illinois by Newsweek — and has received Medicare’s highest Medicare’s five-star rating. Glenview Terrace has also earned the Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval certification for post-hospital and post-surgical care. For additional information or to arrange a personalized virtual tour, visit or call 847-729-9090.