Question: My mother was just diagnosed with glaucoma and I am worried I could develop it too. Is there anything I can do to prevent this?
Answer: Glaucoma involves damage to the optic nerve,
which can lead to vision loss and blindness if left untreated. Unfortunately, once the nerve has been damaged it cannot be repaired. Fortunately, with early detection, we are now very good at preventing damage in the first place. Glaucoma has been called “The Silent Thief of Sight” because there can be no other symptoms, and by the time someone notices vision loss, there is already significant damage to the nerve. The first step in preventing any impact from glaucoma is early detection. At a routine eye examination, your eye doctor can assess many risk factors. These factors include things such as family history, eye pressure, thickness of the front of the eye, and nerve structure, among many others. If glaucoma is suspected, or if enough risk factors are found to determine nerve damage might occur without intervention, then treatment or referral will be recommended. There are many treatment options to lower the risk of nerve damage, although most work by lowering the pressure inside the eye. Early detection is key to minimizing damage and having a routine comprehensive eye examination is the best way to ensure your eyes stay healthy.