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Get tested for glaucoma, save your vision

If you’re over 60, you should be getting a comprehensive dilated eye exam at least every two years. This test for glaucoma could help save your vision. Like many people, you’re likely wondering what is glaucoma, what are the symptoms, and who’s at most risk? I can explain.

One thing our health care providers always check is our blood pressure. We know that if it’s too high for too long it can lead to heart disease and stroke. Well, high pressure can occur in our eyeballs too. Like high blood pressure, it can go on for years with no symptoms. Subtle decreases in peripheral (side) vision then occurs. If untreated, it can lead to blindness.

The disease of high pressure in the eye is called glaucoma, and it’s the leading cause of preventable blindness. That’s why it’s important to go for regular eye exams, especially as you get older. And yes, those include the exams where they put in the drops to dilate your eyes and your vision is blurry and you’re sensitive to light for a while after your appointment.

You are especially at risk for glaucoma if you’re African-American and over 40, of Mexican heritage and over 60, have a family history of the disease, or have poorly controlled blood pressure or diabetes.

Most cases of glaucoma are treatable with eyedrops if diagnosed in time. And, although Medicare does not cover standard vision tests, it does cover the cost of glaucoma screenings.


This article originally appeared, January 19, 2017 and was updated in April 2018.

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