Glaucoma and Family History Can Affect Your Vision

This Article Was Written By Dr. Barbara Evans, A Board-Certified Ophthalmologist In Des Moines

Although anyone can develop glaucoma, those who have a family history of this optic nerve disease can be at even greater risk. The only way to effectively diagnose and prevent significant damage to your optic nerve is through early detection with regularly scheduled comprehensive eye exams. Our board-certified ophthalmologists in Des Moines, IA have years of experience diagnosing and treating glaucoma patients. If you have a family history of glaucoma, it’s important for you to undergo regular eye exams.

Today, Dr. Barb Evans, will share the different types of glaucoma and explain how we can help with early detection and treatment for your eye health.

The Different Types of Glaucoma

There are many different types which can cause serious damage to your optic nerve over time and cause blindness or significant loss of vision. Most types of glaucoma are slow-developing, which means that by the time you start to exhibit vision loss, the disease has already progressed to the point where that loss is irreversible. Here are the 3 main types of glaucoma:

  • Primary Open-Angle Glaucoma: This is the most widespread form of glaucoma and affects around 3 million Americans. Caused by an increase in intraocular pressure (IOP) that slowly damages the optic nerve, but rarely shows symptoms, if caught early can be managed effectively and treated.
  • Angle-Closure Glaucoma: This type is also known as acute or narrow angle glaucoma. This type has a sudden onset, with pressure in the eye rising very quickly. Symptoms include headaches, very blurred vision, eye pain, and nausea. Treatments for angle-closure glaucoma usually include surgery (either laser or conventional).
  • Normal-Tension Glaucoma: This type of glaucoma presents without an increase in intraocular pressure. There are no known causes of normal-tension glaucoma, although research is being conducted to understand how this optic nerve damage occurs without increased eye pressure. Can be treated with medication and eye surgeries, and laser treatment.

Family History Increases Your Risk

As we stated earlier, anyone can be at risk for glaucoma, but those with a family history of the disease can be 4 to 9 times more likely to develop the disease. Other groups with a higher than average likelihood of developing glaucoma are people of African descent and those with diabetes. If you have a family history of glaucoma, you need to have regular eye exams to diagnose and treat the disease before you start developing symptoms.

Contact Dr. Barb Evans at (515) 225-2566

Regularly scheduled, comprehensive eye exams are the only way to accurately diagnose glaucoma in its early stages so you can manage the disease effectively. Dr. Barb Evans (a board-certified ophthalmologist in Des Moines) has years of experience in ophthalmology to take care of your eyes, so call today (515) 225-2566 to schedule an appointment.

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Barbara E. Evans, M.D. has been an ophthalmologist for 29+ years. She provides comprehensive eye care for your entire family. From performing eye exams for routine vision care as well as ocular medical conditions, Barbara E. Evans is committed to exceeding all of your expectations! Please call 515-225-2566 to request an appointment with Dr. Evans.

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