Post Content

Approximately 2.7 million people in the United States have glaucoma, according to the National Eye Health Education Program (NEHEP), and many of them experience partial or total vision loss. The Massachusetts Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) offers a number of resources for employers, residents with visual impairments, and others about glaucoma and vision impairment.

What Is Glaucoma?

Open-angle glaucoma, the most common type, is a chronic condition that progresses slowly. The fluid that normally leaves the chamber in the front of the eye passes too slowly, creating a buildup. This causes pressure inside the eye to rise, which is associated with damage to the optic nerve. No pain occurs as pressure increases, making this form of the disease particularly dangerous — affected individuals may not notice vision issues until permanent damage has happened. Other types of glaucoma may present with painful symptoms.

There is currently no cure for glaucoma, but with treatment, many people with the disease live full lives.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Early detection of glaucoma is the best way to prevent major vision loss. The condition can be diagnosed through a comprehensive eye exam. It is important to have regular exams, particularly for people in high-risk categories including African Americans, those over the age of 60, and individuals with a family history of the disease. Once diagnosed, immediate treatments for early stage, open-angle glaucoma can slow the progression of the disease and prevent further deterioration of eyesight. These options include:

  • Medication — When glaucoma is diagnosed in its early stages, eye drops or pills can lower eye pressure.
  • Laser Trabeculoplasty — During this procedure, a laser is used to help drain fluid out of the eye. The laser burns the meshwork inside the eye, stretching the drainage holes and improving the flow of fluid.
  • Trabeculectomy — In some cases, the doctor will surgically remove a small piece of tissue to create a new channel for fluid to drain from the eye.

What Massachusetts Residents Can Do

HHS provides resources not only for people living with blindness and vision impairment, but also for their neighbors and employers:

Glaucoma may affect you or your family. Take action — find an eye care provider and get an exam. If you know someone with glaucoma in the Commonwealth, please share this information with them.

Have any questions about glaucoma? Comment below or tweet us at @MassGov.

Written By:

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Recent Posts

Safe Toys and Gifts for Children posted on Dec 1

Safe Toys and Gifts for Children

Children love receiving gifts and presents year-round, and the excitement that comes from unwrapping a gift can fill a house with joy. While toys are meant to be fun and entertaining, they can pose several safety risks. In 2014 there were approximately 251,800 toy-related injuries,   …Continue Reading Safe Toys and Gifts for Children

Hurricane Preparedness: Be Ready Before the Storm posted on Jul 18

Hurricane Preparedness: Be Ready Before the Storm

This is a guest blog post from the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA). Governor Baker has proclaimed July 16–22, 2017 to be Hurricane Preparedness Week to underscore the Commonwealth’s vulnerability to tropical storms and hurricanes. Historically, the majority of tropical storms and hurricanes that have   …Continue Reading Hurricane Preparedness: Be Ready Before the Storm

Celebrate Independence Day in Massachusetts posted on Jun 22

Celebrate Independence Day in Massachusetts

As the state where the Boston Tea Party, Battle of Bunker Hill, and first shots of the American Revolution happened, Massachusetts is a special place to celebrate the 4th of July. Whether you’re looking for a free event for the family or a way to give back to America’s   …Continue Reading Celebrate Independence Day in Massachusetts