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Keeping an Eye on Glaucoma

September 14, 2022

Vision is one of the functions typically is affected by age, but some changes could be signal something more serious, like glaucoma. Glaucoma is a group of eye conditions that can damage the optic nerve, which transmits electrical impulses from the eyes to the brain where they are processed into sight. Abnormally high pressure in the eye can cause glaucoma and related optic nerve damage. Geoffrey Emerick, MD, an ophthalmologist with the Hartford Hospital Eye Surgery Center, will address this in the free webinar “Could Your Changing Vision Be Glaucoma?” The presentation, which will include a question and answer period with the doctor, will be on Sep. 20, from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. > Register hereThe most common impact of aging on vision is the decreased ability to change focus from distance to close up,” Dr. Emerick said. “That is correctable with reading glasses or bifocals. Eventually, most people also develop cataracts, which cause blurred vision or glare. We can correct cataracts with surgery.” About 3 million Americans will also develop glaucoma, he said. If glaucoma goes undiagnosed, he said it can lead to blindness. “More than 120,000 Americans are currently blind from glaucoma,” Dr. Emerick noted. > Want more health news? Text StartHere to 85209 to sign up for text alerts

Signs of glaucoma

Typically, Dr. Emerick said there are few signs until glaucoma advances. Then, it can cause:
  • Patchy vision
  • Blurred vision
“There is also an uncommon type of glaucoma called angle closure, which can cause sudden blurred vision with halos around lights and pain in the eye,” Dr. Emerick added.

Diagnosing the problem

Eye doctors can diagnose glaucoma by using a complete dilated examination of the person’s eyes. During the exam, they check the eye pressure and examine the optic nerve at the back of the eye for signs of damage, Dr. Emerick explained. “It is important for people to get regular eye exams as they age, especially if they have a family history of glaucoma,” he said.