As this month marks National Glaucoma Awareness Month, in this article we would like to spread the word about the importance of being aware of the indications of this vision threatening disease. Glaucoma is the term for a category of progressive eye diseases that cause damage to the eye's optic nerve, which can lead to irreversible blindness. When untreated, the damage often initially results in peripheral vision loss and ultimately ends up causing a complete loss of vision. Glaucoma is the leading cause of preventable vision loss and more than 60 million people worldwide suffer from the disease.
One of the main causes of glaucoma is thought to be an increase in pressure in the eye referred to as intraocular pressure. As the pressure increases, this damages the optic nerve which delivers signals from the eye to the vision centers in the brain. In instances where this system doesn't work as needed, eyesight is affected. Unfortunately, damage to the optic nerve is typically untreatable.
The most concerning thing about glaucoma is that unlike other forms of vision impairment, there are no symptoms that indicate the existence of the condition until vision is already lost.
This is why glaucoma has obtained the nickname the "sneak thief of sight." The quandary is how can a patient protect himself against a condition which has no obvious symptoms?
Early diagnosis of the disease is the key to effective care. Although glaucoma risk is universal, specific populations have a higher risk than others. Major risk factors for glaucoma may include anyone over 45 years old, individuals having family members who have had glaucoma, a predisposition to diabetes, or other eye conditions such as myopia, hyperopia, eye injuries or high intraocular pressure.
An effective way to detect glaucoma is to speak to your optometrist. There are several diagnostic eye evaluations used to measure intraocular pressure and the risk of glaucoma. Particularly if you are over 45 or know that you are at risk, make sure to book a comprehensive eye exam at least once a year.
It is unfortunate that for the most part glaucoma cannot be prevented. That being said, the deterioration of sight may be slowed by timely diagnosis and proper treatment. Don't delay! Contact The Eye Center now, for an annual screening for glaucoma.