What Are The Risks Of Developing Glaucoma?

Human eyesight is an incredibly complex system, and a problem anywhere along the way can lead to a seriously compromised vision.

One such problem is glaucoma, a group of eye conditions that affect millions of people in the US, making it the second most common cause of vision loss and blindness in the country. In most cases, the result of damage to the optic nerve from increased pressure in the eye.

Intramuscular Pressure: A Delicate Balance

The human eye is filled with fluid — aqueous humor in the front chambers, vitreous humor in the larger rear chamber behind the lens. In a healthy eye, the pressure of this fluid remains within a safe range because the amount of aqueous humor being produced is roughly equal to the amount flowing out through the pupil. In an eye with glaucoma, this drainage system does not work the way it should.

2 Common Type

At least three million Americans have open-angle glaucoma, which comes on very gradually (over the course of years) and accounts for 90 percent of glaucoma cases. The drainage canals of the eye become clogged, stopping the fluid from draining effectively and causing the pressure to build. Because this process is so slow and vision isn’t noticeably affected until late in the disease, regular comprehensive eye exams are essential for catching it early on and halting its progress.
The second most common type of glaucoma is angle-closure glaucoma. Unlike the gradual progression of open-angle glaucoma, angle-closure glaucoma happens very suddenly, when the iris (the colorful circular muscle that regulates the amount of light that comes in through the pupil) actually blocks the drainage canals. This tends to come with a variety of symptoms, such as headaches, nausea, eye pain, very blurred vision, and rainbows around lights. Get to the eye doctor immediately if you experience these symptoms.

Common Risk Factors

While everyone has some risk of developing glaucoma, certain factors can make it more likely. Glaucoma is far more common in people over 60, particularly African Americans and Hispanics. People of Asian descent are at greater risk of angle-closure glaucoma.
A major risk factor for glaucoma is heredity. Studies estimate that over half of glaucoma cases are familial. Someone with a sibling who has glaucoma is ten times more likely to develop it than someone who doesn’t. Other risk factors include eye injury and steroid use.

Why Early Diagnosis Matters

Vision loss is irreversible and there is currently no cure for the disease, but medication and/or surgery can halt its progress as long as it is diagnosed in time. The key to early diagnosis is regular eye exams, especially for those with a high risk of developing the condition. Make sure you’re familiar with your family’s eye health history and don’t forget to keep us in the loop!

Can You Swim with Contact Lenses?

This summer when it’s hot outside and you have the opportunity to jump into a nice cool pool, it may be tempting to do so without taking out your contact lenses. That process can be a bit of a pain and you may think that it’s no big deal if your contacts get some water on them. However, it is highly recommended that you remove your contacts before going for a dip in the water – this includes pools, hot tubs, lakes, and oceans. There are a variety of reasons for this.

Microbes and Bacteria

Water everywhere contains thousands of viruses and bacteria that can be harmful to your system. One dangerous organism known as Acanthamoeba can cause your cornea to become infected if it comes in contact with your lenses. In severe cases, this can lead to permanent loss of vision or require surgery to fix your cornea, including a potential cornea implant.
This is just one kind of dangerous bacteria that can be made worse by contact lenses. If you don’t wear your contacts, your body generally has a way of flushing these bacteria out. However, as they become attached to your contacts, the bacteria have the opportunity to grow and become more likely to infect you.


Water can cause contact lenses to swell or dislodge, causing discomfort in your eyes. It may also wash away your natural tear film which will cause your eyes to feel dry and irritated as they lose their natural lubricating properties. As your eyes become drier, you will find it more and more irritating to put in your contact lenses in the future, especially if they fall out while you are in the pool.

The potential loss of contacts

Due to the dislodging, that takes place in the water, you put yourself at risk of losing your contacts if you swim with them in. This may not be as big of a deal if you wear daily disposable contacts, but it can be expensive and frustrating if you have permanent contacts.

What to do if you accidentally wear contacts in the pool?

If you forget to take your contacts out when you go swimming, it’s important to remove them and clean them as soon as possible. Make sure to disinfect them with your solution and allow them to dry thoroughly before wearing them again. If you wear daily contacts, throw out the pair that was exposed to water and put in a new pair.
You also need to take care of your eyes, so rinse them out with re-wetting drops or artificial tears. This will re-lubricate your eyes and help ensure that you don’t suffer from dryness as the day goes on. If you have any long-lasting issues after swimming, make an appointment with Twenty Twenty Eyecare as soon as possible.
If you must wear your contacts while swimming, be sure to find a pair of airtight, waterproof goggles. These will protect your eyes from chemicals and bacteria in the water and help keep your contacts from falling out or dislodging