National Glaucoma Awareness Month
Since January has been designated National Glaucoma Awareness Month, this post is intended to stress the importance of recognizing the threat of this vision threatening disease. Glaucoma is the term for a class of ocular diseases that cause damage to the eye’s optic nerve, which may cause irreversible blindness. If uncontrolled, glaucoma often first causes vision loss in the periphery of the visual field and then moves to a complete loss of vision. It is thought to be the leading reason for preventable loss of vision and according to estimates, over 60 million people worldwide have it.
One of the primary causes of glaucoma is considered to be an increase in pressure around the optic nerve. As the pressure increases, this causes damage to the optic nerve which is responsible for delivering messages from the eye to the vision centers in the brain. In instances where this pathway is damaged vision is affected. At the current time, optic nerve damage is usually permanent.
Glaucoma is particularly dangerous because unlike other forms of vision loss, there are no signs that indicate the existence of the condition until irreparable damage is done.
It is for this reason that glaucoma is often called the “sneak thief of sight.” The question is how is it possible to detect a condition which lacks any obvious symptoms?
Early detection of the disease is essential for effective care. Although everyone may be at risk for glaucoma, specific groups are more at risk than others. Risk factors for glaucoma may include anyone over 45, anyone with a family history of glaucoma, diabetes, or other eye conditions such as myopia, hyperopia, eye injuries or elevated intraocular pressure.
An effective way to detect glaucoma is to speak to your eye doctor. There are a series of diagnostic eye evaluations used to measure the beginnings of glaucoma. Especially if you are 45 or older or have one of the other risk factors named above, make sure to book a routine eye examination at least once a year.
It is unfortunate that most forms of glaucoma are not preventable. That being said the damage to the optic nerve and deterioration of vision may be prevented by timely diagnosis and prompt treatment. Don’t delay! Contact Gould Vision today, for a yearly screening for glaucoma.