Expert: Glaucoma can sneak up on a person

April 5, 2012 at 10:10 PM

NEW HAVEN, Conn., April 5 (UPI) -- Glaucoma can sneak up on a person, which is why physicians recommend older adults get tested for it every year or two, an eye specialist says.

Dr. James Tsai at the Yale School of Medicine in New Haven, Conn. -- who is also chairman of the glaucoma education program committee of the National Institutes of Health -- said the eye condition damages the optic nerve that carries information to the brain.

Glaucoma can affect the outer edges of the field of vision -- the side vision. Glaucoma can come on so slowly that, in its early stages, people might not be aware it's happening, Tsai said.

"The eye care professional has to do a dilated exam and carefully look at the optic nerve for signs of glaucoma as well as assess the side vision in that patient," Tsai said in a statement.

Tsai said the risk of glaucoma was higher for African-Americans and older people.

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