It is highly likely that most people in the Dallas area who have good eyesight never get their eyes examined regularly or even at all. What’s the purpose of spending that time and money when you can see just fine? For the over 40 age crowd who experience the expected presbyopia that makes it more difficult to focus on up-close objects, simple magnifying reading glasses purchased at the drug store solve the problem. Currently there are no other treatments available to reverse it, so why go to the optometrist in Plano or other Dallas area? In a word: glaucoma. That’s why.

Glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness, with cataracts being the leading cause. With glaucoma, there is a build-up of fluid pressure in the eye that is typically free of symptoms until it reaches an advanced stage. When symptoms do appear, they can be of two types. One is a slow loss of peripheral vision. It progresses to increasingly tunneled vision and loss of vision. Another type of glaucoma results in an acute onset of symptoms that include eye pain, low light visual difficulty, blurred vision, objects appearing with halos around them, and physical redness of the eye. This is an emergency situation that requires immediate attention to drain the built up fluid in the eye.

There are a number of factors that lead to an increased risk of glaucoma. Hypertension, or high blood pressure is at the top of this list. It is likely one reason that African Americans, in which hypertension is the highest among ethnic populations, are affected almost five times more often than Caucasian Americans. Increased risk is also present in people who have diabetes, hypothyroidism, or family members with glaucoma. Age is a factor in glaucoma as is nearsightedness and the prolonged use of corticosteroids.

There is no cure for glaucoma though early treatment can slow or prevent the further decline and progression of the condition. This is why it is so important to schedule eye exams every three to five years even if your vision is excellent. If glaucoma is diagnosed, medication delivered through daily eye drops reduce the pressure in the eyes and prevent further deterioration. Oral medications may also be used to boost the effectiveness of the eye drops. Surgery is another possible option if medications aren’t effective or cannot be tolerated.

There are a number of ways to prevent glaucoma. They include managing weight and exercising to keep blood pressure in normal ranges, a healthy diet rich in antioxidants, and most importantly regular eye exams to detecting glaucoma early before symptoms appear. If you haven’t had tour eyes examined for a number of years, make an appointment with an optometrist in Plano to protect your eyesight.

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