As a senior living community, McHenry-based Fox Point sees first-hand how health problems — and proactive health steps — impact its seniors. Wanting to help others, Fox Point urges seniors to have checkups, including eye exams that test for glaucoma. “Only regular comprehensive eye exams can protect your vision from glaucoma,” states the American Optometric Association (AOA).
Glaucoma is a disease that damage’s the eye’s optic nerve. It’s the leading cause of blindness for people over age 60. It usually happens when fluid builds up in the front part of the eye. That extra fluid increases the pressure in the eye, damaging the optic nerve, explains the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO). With early treatment, blindness from glaucoma can often be prevented.
The AAO explains that there are two types of glaucoma, including the most common type: “primary open-angle.” This glaucoma happens gradually, where the eye doesn’t drain fluid properly (like a clogged drain). It’s painless and causes no vision changes at first, although pressure is building up.
In contrast, “closed-angle or narrow-angle glaucoma” can happen suddenly when drainage gets blocked and pressure rises quickly. The AAO says warning signs include sudden blurry vision, severe eye pain, headache, nausea, and seeing rainbow-colored rings or halos around lights.
“This is a true eye emergency, and you should call your ophthalmologist right away or you might go blind,” the AAO advises.
Glaucoma risk factors include age and race, states the AOA. People over age 60 are at an increased risk. For African Americans, the increased risk begins after age 40. People of Asian, Japanese, and Latin American descent have heightened risks also.
People more likely to develop glaucoma include those with a family history; medical conditions, including diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease;…