During your last visit to the eye doctor, he or she probably measured the internal pressure of your eyes and then administered a few drops to dilate your pupils. Both of these tests screen for glaucoma, a disease that strikes as many as 4 million Americans. Unfortunately, since the condition doesn’t cause any symptoms in its early stages, nearly half of those people don’t realize that they have it.

Although generally thought of as one disease, glaucoma is actually a group of conditions that harm the optic nerves. Most of the time, this damage is the result of fluid buildup in the eye. Normally, the eye’s fluid, or aqueous humor, exits from the front of the eye. A meshlike drain sits at an angle where the iris and cornea meet. But when this area becomes clogged, pressure builds and wears away at the optic nerve – causing open-angle (chronic) glaucoma. The other form of the disease, called angle-closure (acute) glaucoma, occurs when the iris bulges forward and blocks the angle. Because the optic nerve’s job is to transmit images from the retina to the brain, damage can lead to vision loss. As a result, glaucoma is the second-leading cause of blindness. (Cataracts are the most frequent cause).

Glaucoma typically develops slowly, with a gradual loss of peripheral vision that leads to tunnel vision. The condition can appear suddenly, however, and can bring on blurred vision, eye reddening, halos of light, and eye pain. Experts recommend that, beginning at age 18, everyone receive a glaucoma test every 2 years; people at greater risk, such as African Americans and those with a family history of the condition, may need to be tested more frequently. Because diabetes, heart disease, eye injuries, and the frequent use of corticosteroid eyedrops can also leave you vulnerable to the disease, people with these factors should also keep close watch on their vision. If glaucoma is diagnosed, pressure-lowering eyedrops or oral medications can protect the eyes. In more serious cases, surgery to drain the fluid may be necessary.

1. British researchers found that men who wear tight neckties have higher intraocular pressure, putting them at greater risk for glaucoma.

2. About 120,000 Americans are blind as a result of glaucoma

3. One in four Americans says he or she does not have an eye exam every 2years.

In addition to lutein and zeaxanthin, the USANA Vitamins Visionex formulation contains these three important nutritional aids to eye health: bilberry extract, vitamin C, and zinc. The comprehensive formulation of USANA Visionex® supplement is designed to support long-term eye health.

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