Glaucoma And Aging Often Go Together 

Glaucoma and aging, much like several other vision related conditions, have a very strong connection for one simple reason; our age group is its largest target.

Although it can and will attack all age groups, once we pass the 60 year old mark, we all become targets of it silent and potentially very dangerous attack.

There are several different forms of this condition, but the most common type is especially dangerous for one reason; it has absolutely no warning signs.

Glaucoma and Aging

Glaucoma and aging is something that all of us in our 60’s or older should be concerned with, as once it becomes advanced, there is no known ways to correct the damage.

Bottom line is that if we do not catch it early though a regular eye exam, it can and often does lead to the loss of our vision.

There are several factors that put us at risk of this dangerous condition and they include the following.

  • Adults over the age of 60—some experts say 50
  • A history of unusually high eye pressure
  • African American or Hispanic heritage
  • A family history of it
  • Diseases such as Sickle Cell Anemia, Diabetes, and High Blood Pressure
  • Any type of eye injury as well as an eye surgery

This condition is not considered to be a single condition; instead, it is a group of conditions that causes damage to our optic nerve.

Why Do Seniors Get Glaucoma?

Our optic nerve is essential in order for all us to have any type of normal vision.

If it becomes damaged, in most cases, we may never know it until it is too late.

The damage to our optic nerve by this condition is the result of increased pressure on our eyes, and what makes it even more challenging is the reason why.

To this day, the medical community does not fully understand how eye pressure becomes elevated.

They understand what happens with glaucoma and aging, they are just not sure why it happens.

Here is what is happening to us with this condition.

  • Fluid begins to build up in our eyes
  • This fluid is not draining that way it normally has
  • Pressure begins to build in our eyes.

Glaucoma and aging also have another tenuous relationship; it is the leading cause of blindness worldwide,  to people 60 years and older.

The Different Forms of Glaucoma and Aging

The fluid in our eyes is referred to as “aqueous humor” and normally it will drain out of what is called our “anterior chamber”.

This chamber is located in the front of our eyes and this flow goes through the eye tissue at an angle.

This angle is located where the iris and cornea of our eyes meet, and it is a process that is very simple and easily.

However, if this draining process is interrupted, and as a result, the fluid cannot drain properly, we begin to develop “eye pressure”

When these levels become excessive, several things can happen and none of them are good.

There are several different forms of this condition and they include the following;

  • The Open Angle Form—the most common
  • The Angle-closure form—the second most common
  • The Normal Tension Form
  • The Pigmentary Form—quite rare

The most common form of glaucoma and aging is the open angle form, and it is also the most dangerous for one simple and scary reason; there are no symptoms.

This Is Why It Is So Dangerous

There may be a few symptoms such as small blind spots or tunnel vision, but in the vast majority of cases when these do surface, it is too late to effectively treat it.

With this form the draining process is working like intended, but the tissues or the mesh-work is blocked, so there is a very slow buildup of fluid.

Here is what makes this form of glaucoma and aging so dangerous.

  • This build up fluid is very slow
  • The buildup can take several years
  • In almost all cases you will not even be aware of it until the damage is done

With the Angle-closure form, our iris will actually move forward and this movement not only narrows the draining process, it also can block it altogether.

If your hereditary genes make your drainage angles narrow to start with, you are naturally at a higher degree of risk.

This is why Hispanics and African Americans are listed as high risk groups.

This Form Has Symptoms

This form in the vast majority of cases does not develop slowly; instead it can appear very suddenly and violently.

This one does have several symptoms or warning signs are here are the most common;

  • Small blind spots on the sides of our vision that start to increase in size
  • Blurred vision generally accompanied by severe headaches
  • A sudden onset of halos that are colored around any type of light
  • A difficult time adjusting if you enter a dark room
  • Sudden nausea and vomiting

If you have any of these symptoms, it is considered a medical emergency, and you need professional help as soon as possible.

With the next form, Normal Tension, our optic nerve has been damaged but something strange has also occurred; your eye pressure is still considered to be normal.

This is another issue the stumps the medical community, and the most common reasoning is that if may be the result of a limited blood flow to the eyes.

The Pigmentary form is quite rare and is the result of small granules clogging the draining process.

The Treatments

The real key to glaucoma and aging is to have our eyes checked at least one a year, especially in our age group.

If caught early, it can be successfully treated.

However, if it is not, and any type of vision loss does occur, it cannot be reversed.

The most common and generally successful treatment is with prescription eye drops, and here are the major reasons they can be effective.

  • The will increase the outflow of fluid
  • The will reduce the production of fluid

Each brand or type can serve a different purposes, and you’re professional Ophthalmologist will advise on the best brand to lower the pressure on your eyes.

If these do not work, surgery may be needed.

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