Eye-Q Answers

  1. True. In a study funded by the National Eye Institute, researchers at The Johns Hopkins University reported that glaucoma is three to four times more likely to occur in African Americans than in Whites. In addition, glaucoma is six times more likely to cause blindness in African Americans than in Whites.
  2. True. Although glaucoma tends to run in families, a hereditary basis has not been established. If someone in your immediate family has glaucoma, you should have a comprehensive dilated eye examination every one to two years.
  3. True. The early stages of open-angle glaucoma, the most common form, usually have no warning signs. However, as the disease progresses, a person with glaucoma may notice his or her side vision gradually failing.
  4. True. Everyone over age 60 is at an increased risk for glaucoma, especially Mexican Americans. Other groups at increased risk are African Americans over age 40 and people with a family history of glaucoma. Children and babies can also develop glaucoma.
  5. False. People with glaucoma usually do not experience pain from the disease.
  6. True. Although glaucoma cannot be cured, it can usually be controlled by eyedrops or pills, conventional surgery, or laser surgery. Sometimes eye care professionals will recommend a combination of surgery and medication.
  7. False. Increased eye pressure means you are at increased risk for glaucoma, but does not mean you have the disease. A person has glaucoma only if the optic nerve is damaged. If you have increased eye pressure but no damage to the optic nerve, you do not have glaucoma. Follow the advice of your doctor.
  8. False. Vision loss from glaucoma is permanent. However, with early detection and treatment, the progression of vision loss can be slowed or halted, and the risk of blindness reduced.
  9. False. A measurement of eye pressure by tonometry, though an important part of a comprehensive eye exam, is, by itself, not sufficient for the detection of glaucoma. Glaucoma is detected most often during an eye examination through dilated pupils. Drops are put into the eyes during the exam to enlarge the pupils, which allows the eye care professional to see more of the inside of the eye to check for signs of glaucoma. When indicated, a visual field test should also be performed.
  10. True. An eye examination through dilated pupils is the best way to diagnose glaucoma. Individuals at increased risk for the disease should have their eyes examined through dilated pupils every one to two years by an eye care professional.

Get your eyes examined.
Don’t lose sight of glaucoma.

For more information about glaucoma, write:
National Eye Health Education Program
2020 Vision Place
Bethesda, MD 20892–3655

National Eye Institute, National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services revised 10–06

Courtesy: National Eye Institute, National Institutes of Health (NEI/NIH).