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Glaucoma: The Silent Thief of Sight – A Family Affair

Today, we delve into a crucial aspect of eye health that is often overlooked but can have serious consequences if left untreated – Glaucoma. This sight-threatening condition can run in families, making early detection and monitoring of utmost importance. Join us as we explore the connection between glaucoma and family history, and why we perform pressure tests during eye examinations to spot signs of this stealthy eye disease.

Glaucoma is a group of eye conditions that lead to damage to the optic nerve, the vital link between the eye and the brain. In most cases, glaucoma is associated with increased intraocular pressure (IOP) due to the buildup of fluid inside the eye. The elevated pressure puts stress on the optic nerve, leading to gradual vision loss. Unfortunately, glaucoma rarely presents any symptoms during its early stages, earning it the nickname “the silent thief of sight.”

One of the significant risk factors for glaucoma is having a family history of the condition. If you have a close relative, such as a parent or sibling, with glaucoma, your risk of developing it increases significantly. Studies have shown that people with a family history of glaucoma have a four to nine times higher risk of developing the disease themselves.

The genetic link doesn’t mean that you are destined to develop glaucoma if it runs in your family, but it does underscore the importance of regular eye examinations, particularly if you have a family history of this condition. Early detection can make a world of difference in managing glaucoma and preserving your precious vision.

As part of a comprehensive eye examination, our Optometrists routinely perform a tonometry test to measure the intraocular pressure. This test is quick, painless, and provides crucial information about the health of your eyes, especially in relation to glaucoma.

The tonometry test measures the pressure within the eye by gauging the resistance of the cornea (the clear front surface of the eye) to a gentle pressure or a puff of air. Elevated intraocular pressure doesn’t always mean you have glaucoma, but it is one of the primary indicators of the disease.

Glaucoma can cause permanent vision loss if left untreated, making early detection and intervention critical. By testing intraocular pressure during an eye examination, optometrists can identify potential signs of glaucoma and take appropriate measures to manage it effectively.

Glaucoma is a serious eye condition that can impact anyone, but the risk is significantly higher for those with a family history of the disease. Regular eye examinations, including intraocular pressure testing, are essential to detect glaucoma early and preserve your vision.

At Clare & Illingworth Opticians, we are committed to providing you and your family with the best eye care possible. If you have a family history of glaucoma or have any concerns about your eye health, don’t hesitate to book an appointment with us.

Remember, your eyes are precious – let’s keep them healthy for a lifetime!


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