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Glaucoma: Avoid Irreversible Vision Loss

The other day, I was having lunch with a friend who had just gotten her yearly eye exam at her local optometrist. Besides her expected nearsightedness and some trouble with dry eyes, her eye doctor did not have much to tell her, but that didn’t stop her from worrying over her husband. He refuses to have an eye exam, and he’s in his mid-forties. My friend asked me if she was worrying for no reason; after all, her husband’s vision has seemed to be fine for years. My response to my friend was the inspiration for this blog: hadn’t he ever heard of glaucoma, the leading worldwide cause of irreversible vision loss? Keep reading to learn about this “silent thief of eyesight” and how regular eye exams can prevent it from stealing your vision. What is glaucoma? As briefly discussed in a previous blog post, glaucoma describes a group of conditions that cause damage to the optic nerve, which is a paired nerve connected to both eyeballs and responsible for relaying images from the retina to the brain. Without a properly-functioning optic nerve, these images cannot reach the brain, but how does damage to the optic nerve occur? The optic nerve is made up of millions of delicate nerve fibers; when these fibers are damaged, it will have a negative effect on your vision. Some experience a loss of peripheral vision followed by a progressive darkness while others develop blind spots from the damaged nerve fibers. How these fibers get damaged is not fully understood at this point, but we do know that both high eye pressure and low...