Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases, that without treatment can lead to vision loss and blindness by damaging a nerve in the back of your eye known as the optic nerve. The only way to diagnose glaucoma is through a comprehensive dilated eye exam.  There is no cure for glaucoma, but early treatment can often stop the damage and protect your vision. Symptoms are little to none at first which is why people often do not know they have glaucoma until problems arise. Over time, you may slowly lose your peripheral vision, but as the disease worsens, you may notice that you cannot see things off to the side anymore. Without treatment, glaucoma can eventually cause blindness. Anyone can get glaucoma, but some people are at higher risk. Those at higher risk are people over age 60, especially if you are Hispanic/Latino, African American, and over age 40, or have a family history of glaucoma. If you are at higher risk, should get a comprehensive dilated eye exam every 1 to 2 years. Early detection is key in the control of this disease. There is no way to prevent glaucoma. That is why eye exams are so vital. Scientists are not certain what causes the most common types of glaucoma, but many people with glaucoma have high eye pressure. Treatments that lower eye pressure help to slow down the disease. The eye exam to check for glaucoma is simple and painless. The doctor will administer eye drops to dilate (widen) your pupils and then check your eyes for glaucoma and other eye problems. The exam involves a visual field test to check your side vision as well. If you are diagnosed with glaucoma, it is important to start treatment right away. Treatment will not undo any damage to your vision, but it can prevent it from getting any worse. Treatment for glaucoma may consist of medicines (usually eye drops), laser treatment, and surgery. Talk your options over with your doctor. While glaucoma is a severe disease, treatment works well and can prevent further damage.

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