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Tips to Avoid Glaucoma

January 16, 2014

Avoid Glaucoma—Learn the Warning Signs Now

If you were to learn that Canada has a higher percentage of glaucoma diagnoses than the United States, would you be surprised? Sadly, not only is this a fact, but Glaucoma Today (Jan. 2013) reports that nearly half of Canadian patients diagnosed with glaucoma already showed moderate-to-advanced symptoms at the time of their initial diagnoses.

There are many factors contributing to this startling statistic. Some are socioeconomic, but many are rooted in the overall shortage of qualified optical professionals throughout the country.

Happily, in Edmonton we have many talented eye doctors who are qualified to test patients for glaucoma. But what else should you know about glaucoma?

Glaucoma Defined

Glaucoma occurs when the optic nerve is damaged due to pressure from excess fluid in your eye’s interior. There are three basic types:

  1. Open-angle glaucoma (more than 90% of cases in Canada)
  2. Primary acute closed-angle glaucoma (an emergency case that occurs suddenly when fluids stop
    draining from the eye)
  3. Secondary glaucoma (may arise from eye injury, inflammation, diabetes, medication side-effects, or
    surgical complications)

Risk Factors and Warning Signs

Although each case varies, there are certain risk factors you should pay heed to:

  • Age (occasionally after age 40; generally after age 60)
  • Ethnic background (African-American groups are at highest risk)
  • Genetics (ask your relatives to see if glaucoma runs in your family)
  • Diabetes (increases susceptibility to glaucoma)
  • Myopia (more commonly known as nearsightedness)

Also pay attention to the following warning signs:

  • LACK of symptoms may mask open-angle glaucoma. The only way to keep ahead of this is to
    have regular glaucoma exams.
  • Closed-angle glaucoma, by contrast, is very noticeable. Seek immediate medical help if you
    experience blurred vision, halo vision, severe eye/head pain, unexplained sight loss, nausea, or
  • Sudden eye trauma or the aftereffects of surgery (for example, cataract surgery) may bring on
    secondary glaucoma.