Glaucoma can most accurately be described as the silent thief of sight. Thousands of new cases of glaucoma are diagnosed each year by eye doctors. This disease can rob you of the vision you need to lead an active lifestyle. Glaucoma is a progressive disease that develops over months to years. It gradually causes loss of peripheral vision, and, if left untreated, can result in irreversible blindness. Your risk of developing glaucoma is higher if you have diabetes, high blood pressure or high cholesterol. Certain lifestyles such as smoking and obesity can also increase your risks. The most common factor, however, is genetic. If you have a blood relative with glaucoma, you should be checked by your eye doctor regularly.

Glaucoma treatments have drastically changed over the past decade. In the past, we had only a limited selection of eye drops to control pressure within the eye. Some of these medications caused unpleasant side effects, like headaches and blurred vision.

Today, we have a much wider range of choices. The specific glaucoma medicine you receive depends upon any pre-existing health problems, your lifestyle, and glaucoma history. If the eye drops do not adequately control the glaucoma, surgery can be done. Here, openings through the drainage system of the eye are artificially produced, often with a laser. This allows for healthier fluid circulation and a reduction in eye pressure. It's good to know these treatments are available should you develop glaucoma, but early diagnosis is really the key to a lifetime of healthy vision.

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