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Because those with the most common form of glaucoma (open-angle) usually do not begin to recognize symptoms of the eye disease until they have already begun to lose vision, their hopes of arresting vision loss largely rest with comprehensive eye exams. Aside from performing the simple test that measures internal eye pressure, optometrists  also look directly at the optic nerve (after the pupil has been dilated) for signs of damage. In addition, a test of the patient’s visual field is performed. Unless open-angle glaucoma, which accounts for 90% of all cases, is detected through regular and thorough eye exams and properly treated in its early stages, it can cause permanent visual damage. Glaucoma is truly “the sneak thief of sight.” According to the Optometric Glaucoma Society, individuals with a family history are at increased risk for glaucoma, especially when they are over 60 years of age or have a sibling diagnosed with glaucoma.


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