Since this month has been designated National Glaucoma Awareness Month, in this article we would like to stress the importance of being aware of the threat of glaucoma. Glaucoma is a category of ocular diseases that damage the optic nerve, which may be a precursor to irreversible blindness. When not treated, glaucoma often initially results in vision loss in the periphery of the field of vision and ultimately ends up causing a complete loss of vision. Glaucoma is the number one reason for preventable blindness and over sixty million individuals worldwide are afflicted with the disease.
One of the leading causes of glaucoma is known to be an increase in pressure in the eye known as intraocular pressure. The elevation in pressure damages the optic nerve which transmits messages to the vision centers in the brain. When this pathway is damaged eyesight is impaired. Regrettably, damage to the optic nerve is usually irreversible.
Glaucoma is particularly threatening because unlike other forms of vision impairment, it is an asymptomatic condition until it may be too late.
This is why glaucoma is known as the "sneak thief of sight." This may leave you wondering how is it possible to protect yourself against an illness which lacks any tell-tale symptoms?
Early diagnosis of the disease is necessary for effective care. Although everyone may be at risk for glaucoma, specific populations are more at risk than others. Risk factors for glaucoma may include those over 45 years old, individuals having a family history of glaucoma, a predisposition to diabetes, or known eye problems such as elevated intraocular pressure.
The best way to detect glaucoma is to speak to an optometrist. There are a series of diagnostic eye examinations used to assess intraocular pressure and the risk of glaucoma. Particularly if you are over 45 or know that you are at risk, make sure to schedule a routine eye examination at least once a year.
The fact is for the most part glaucoma cannot be prevented. That being said, the optic nerve damage and loss of vision can be prevented by early diagnosis and prompt treatment. Contact Shore Family Eyecare now, for a yearly glaucoma screening.