Glaucoma is a serious, lifelong eye disease that can lead to vision loss if not controlled. But for most people, glaucoma does not have to lead to blindness. That is because glaucoma is controllable with modern treatment, and there are many choices to help keep glaucoma from further damaging your eyes. Treatment cannot reverse damage that has already occurred, but it can prevent further vision loss.
January has been declared as National Glaucoma Awareness Month by Prevent Blindness and other leading eye health organizations. Prevent Blindness seeks to educate the public on the second leading cause of blindness (behind cataracts) by providing free resources via online or by mail through its “Glaucoma Learning Center.” Visit www.preventblindness.org/glaucoma-learning-center for free information on risk factors, symptoms and treatment options.
For example, glaucoma risk factors include:
Age: Those that are 40 and older are more likely to develop glaucoma. The older you are, the greater your risk.
Race: People of African or Afro-Caribbean heritage are more likely to get glaucoma than the rest of the population. They are also more likely to develop glaucoma at a younger age.
Family History: If you have a parent or sibling who has glaucoma, you are more likely to develop the disease.
Diabetes: People with diabetes have a higher risk (40 percent) of developing glaucoma.
Nearsightedness: People who are very nearsighted are at greater risk.
Eye Injury or Surgery: Those who have had eye surgery or eye injuries may develop secondary glaucoma.
Steroid Medication: Steroids may increase the risk of glaucoma when used for extended periods of time.
Prevent Blindness has recently put together free fact sheets to help answer common questions about health insurance, Medicare coverage for glaucoma, the Affordable Care Act and eye care. These may be found at www.preventblindness.org/health-insurance-and-your-eyes.
“Although there is currently no cure for glaucoma, the damaging effects can be reduced if diagnosed and treated early,” said Hugh R. Parry, president and CEO of Prevent Blindness. “Our vision should always be a top priority, and the New Year is a great time for a resolution to make sure our eyes are healthy with a dilated eye exam!”
What is Glaucoma?
Glaucoma is an eye disease that causes loss of sight by damaging a part of the eye called the optic nerve. This nerve sends information from your eyes to your brain. When glaucoma damages your optic nerve, you begin to lose patches of vision, usually side vision (peripheral vision). Over time, glaucoma may also damage straight ahead (central) vision. You may not notice a loss of side vision until you have lost a great deal of your sight. When checking for glaucoma, eye doctors usually look for damage to the optic nerve and any loss of side vision. They may also check your eye pressure.
Glaucoma is often called "the sneak thief of sight." That’s because people usually do not notice any signs of the disease until they have already lost significant vision. Once lost, vision can't be restored. More than 2.7 million Americans age 40 and older have open angle glaucoma, the most common form of glaucoma. At least half don't even know they have it.
Please see your eye doctor for regular check ups and prevent the damage illustrated in the photo from happening to you. Brought to you by Medina Vision and Laser Centre, in Medina, Ohio. www.MedinaVisionandLaser.com
Part two will be posted in a few days.
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