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Glaucoma: doctors say early detection is key

Fundus camera image of the retina and optic nerve in the human eye.

Glaucoma can go unnoticed until irreversible damage is done. Dr. Arthur Jordan Jr., an ophthalmologist at Northeastern Eye Institute, says early detection is crucial to prevent vision loss.

“We usually screen people if they are over 40, or if they have a family history of glaucoma, that’s important,” he said.

There are many different forms of glaucoma and the progression of the disease is unique for everyone. The sooner you detect it and treat it, the better the outcome, he says.

He says one type called open-angle glaucoma does not show symptoms until it is advanced.

“It typically affects your peripheral vision first and most people don’t realize they have a problem,” he said. “And then if that glaucoma goes untreated and advances, they can lose their vision.”

Glaucoma is not curable or preventable. The treatment works to prevent blindness.

“When you treat high blood pressure, you’re trying to prevent a heart attack or a stroke. When you’re treating somebody that has glaucoma, you’re trying to prevent vision loss.”

Dr. Jordan Jr.’s recommendation is that people 40 or older get their eyes checked every 2-3 years.