Glaucoma: The Disease That Steals Your Sight

January Is National Glaucoma Awareness Month

Did you know that as much as 40% of your vision can be lost due to glaucoma – without  your notice?

That’s why they call glaucoma the “sneak thief of sight.”  There are no symptoms, and once your vision is lost, it’s permanent.  This is one of the urgent messages of National Glaucoma Awareness Month, which takes place every January.  (And for good reason – according to a National Eye Institute survey, only 8% of Americans are aware of the fact that glaucoma has no early symptoms.)

Over four million Americans have glaucoma, and given its stealth progression, approximately half of them don’t know it.  The leading cause of preventable blindness, glaucoma is more prevalent in African American and Latino populations.  For example, it is six to eight times more prevalent in African Americans than Caucasians.  People who are severely nearsighted, have diabetes or who have family members with glaucoma are also at higher risk.

A Snapshot of the Glaucoma Community at PatientsLikeMe

While there is no cure for glaucoma, there are treatments (including medication and surgery) that can help slow or prevent vision loss.  That’s why it’s so important to have regular eye exams, especially if you are over 60.  The disease can strike at younger ages, though, as the data from our glaucoma community at PatientsLikeMe shows.  Of the 107 members reporting the disease, approximately 60% are between the ages of 40 and 59.

Haven’t been to the eye doctor in a while?  Make an appointment today for your peace of mind.

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17 thoughts on “Glaucoma: The Disease That Steals Your Sight”

  1. I remember when my dad got glaucoma…seemed like it just happened out of nowhere.

    And if he had had regular eye exams, he would have been able to prevent or at least slow the progress.

    I can’t urge anyone reading this enough, make sure your family members get regular eye exams!!

  2. Glaucoma hit me out of the blue in September just gone 2012. Felt nauseous and “spaced out” so eventually took myself off to bed. By 3.a.m. next morning was being violently sick and sight in left eye began disappearing, also had a terrible pain in the back of my head near base of skull. Called an ambulance and was whipped of the hospital. Put me on a drip and gave me anti nauseau tabs. When I insisted that I could not see properly pot of left eye they referred me to Eye Department in hospital where they found the pressure in my left eye was sky high. Promptly got to work on me and brought it down,then sent me home. After about a week I returned and everything seemed to have settled but they insisted on doing laser treatment (on two occasions). Unfortunately, this has not worked any they want to operate on 13th Jan. Now could someone please advise me re having this op as I feel had I not had the laser treatment everything would be back to normal. Instead I did as they advised and I am now worse. I am very, very nervous and anxious now and they say they will do it under anesthetic(?), What should I do. Any advice greatly appreciated.
    I also have CFS/FM/Cs as well.
    Many thanks.

  3. How scary, Avril! I’m glad you’re doing okay and working to find a effective treatment. While we’re not medical professionals and cannot give medical advice, I suggest you join and reach out to others with glaucoma to learn from their experiences.

    If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out.

    Best wishes,
    Liz Morgan, PatientsLikeMe Community Manager

  4. I have been treating glaucoma for about 20 years with a variety of ophthalmic drops. I never had high pressure readings – 14 without treatment. With the drops the pressure stayed at about 12. However, through the years I have developed allergies to almost everything except Xalatan and Azopt. I am now 68 years old and this disease has advanced. I have had SLT procedures which lowered the pressure to 9 or 10 for 5-6 months and now the pressure is higher than ever – 19 with the use of the 2 remaining prescription drops that I can tolerate. I have lost a significant amount of vision in my left eye; i still have 20/30 vision in the right, but it too is deteriorating. I am considering having more surgery to place a shunt in my eye, but I know no one who has had this surgery. I would so appreciate hearing from others who have undergone this procedure and hearing of the outcome.

  5. Hi I start having pain in my left eye all of sudden along with floaters.. In nov 2014 doctor told me I have a pressure of 29 in both eyes.. then after many followups its was minimum of 25 and never less than that. Doc told me I may get glaucoma in next 5 years as I have thin cornea aswell..they checked my visual field test along with other test and wants follow up checkups aswell in future…I am very affraid.. dont want to get blind.. I am only 27 years old and I have 3 years old daughter.. want to explore world… any advice…

  6. I have had glaucoma for 20 years. I am now 64. I have had 2 different SLT procedures and am on 3 medications. My pressure is still too high and I have vision loss in both eyes. I will need further surgery. I would like to hear from others with hard to control glaucoma and what procedures helped them. Thanks!

  7. I was diagnosed with glaucoma in my 40’s, and that is almost 30 years ago. Had the newer surgeries of stint inserted in both eyes (at different times), worked for less than 1 year. One eye pressure measured 30 recently and doctor wants to do more surgery. I am very reluctant to continue with these surgeries when there is no assurance that it will improve the pressure for more than 1 year. Anyone else had better outcomes?

  8. I’ve been looking at the papers and the Trabeculectomy procedure and the Molteno implant have 30 year follow-up periods showing their success in glaucoma.

  9. waqas ali khan

    Hi everyone. i came to know about this terrible disease, when i found myself its patient. i am patient since december 2015. i am using three eye drops, with eye pressure 15L and 19R. doctor told me this is controlled glaucoma. can any one tell me what should i do for betterment

  10. Hello: I just found out I have Glaucoma and Optical Nerve damage April 28th 2016. My vision a couple of weeks ago was fine; close enough to 20/20 in both eyes to not need anything more that 1.25 reading glasses.

    Over the last 6 months I have had headaches that I caulked up to seasonal weather changes. I had no other symptoms and those headaches may not have been a symptom. Anyway, about 5 days ago I noticed a blurring of my vision in the periphery. It got so bad in just a couple of days, walking down the isles of stores made me dizzy.

    I went to a local eye doctor and he read my eye pressure at 25R and 35L with clear damage to the optical nerve in the right eye and no damage to the left. However, other people can have damage at lower pressures, so don’t take this a some kind of limit. Thirteen is consider normal with below 20 preferred.

    i am on eye drops to lower the pressure and now seeing double when both eyes are open. It is a real challenge driving with one eye open and, where possible, not safe. It is obvious I have a real challenge on my hands, but the point is you don’t feel it coming until damage has been done!

    Annual checkups and if old enough checkups every 6 months are a very good idea. the sooner they catch the rise in pressure the sooner they can start lowering it with drops. Before there is any optical nerve damage!

    There is no reversal currently know to repair optic nerve damage. And from what I have read lowering eye pressure has limited success over the long term, but better over all success if started early.

    Get checked often, get the pressure lowered early to protect your eye sight.

    At 67 I had my eyes tested 2 years ago with no issues. If, and I say IF, I had tested a year ago or even 6 months ago my eye sight might still be in great shape. Don’t think you are immune to the problem, saying what you could have done will not fix the damage already done.

    Best of luck to everyone, I am off to do more research.

  11. I’m an ophthalmologist treating patients with glaucoma for the last many years. Now I’m starting a “glog” (glaucoma blog) to discuss more about this terrible disease. Please be free to read articles I got published in various journals to understand glaucoma.

  12. Hi there,
    I am extremely worried about my mother’s healthcare and desperately worried for her. I am angry because she has been to the opthamologist and although she is great she became angry when i went back to her and told her that my mother’s eyesight was deteriorating. She basically shouted at me and told me that I should leave her alone and basically watch her deteriorate. I was so upset. I am at a loss because I am desperate for my mother to get help with her eyesight and she has deteriorated and I am watching her and expected to see her and leave her alone. Please can someone offer me the information from any charities which can help me.

  13. the opthamologist will not tell me my mother’s diagnosis. i do not have any brothers or sisters and she depends on me.

  14. michelle Edelman

    Does anyone have any experience using any alternative medicine? Acupuncture, anything?
    Where can I get some real answers to these questions?

  15. I am 57, and was diagnosed with open angle glaucoma 4 years ago. The damage to my optic nerves was already extensive. I was recommended to a surgeon and had trabeculectomy with mini express stent done on both eyes. My vision is still good, but I have some clouding and floaters. I am diligent with my drops. I have issues with dry eyes, especially when I sleep. I use a humidifier and OTC drops at night. I am determined to have a good attitude and do my best to appreciate every day.

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