Glaucoma Awareness Month
January is Glaucoma Awareness Month. Glaucoma is a very serious and increasingly common disease of the eyes which can cause blindness. Over 3 million Americans have glaucoma, and it is the leading cause of permanent blindness.
People with glaucoma are not likely to notice troubling symptoms at its onset. It affects side vision or peripheral vision first, and as much as 40 percent of one’s vision may be lost before one might notice the problem.
Persons with Higher Risk
Middle-aged and elderly African-Americans are the people who are most likely to develop glaucoma. In fact, glaucoma is the leading cause of blindness among African-Americans. Elderly Hispanic Americans are also very vulnerable to developing glaucoma. Also, people who have diabetes and people who have relatives with glaucoma are at risk for developing this eye disease. People who have severe near-sightedness are also at risk.
Annual Vision Exam
Presently, there is no cure for glaucoma. That’s why an annual vision exam is so important. In a regular eye exam, two tests for glaucoma are routinely performed. If the outcome shows significant risk factors, more eye tests for glaucoma will be performed to make a diagnosis. Detecting glaucoma early can help determine treatment.
Medication or eye surgery can slow or prevent more loss of vision. Different types of glaucoma require different treatments. Getting regular eye exams and treatment by an ophthalmologist or eye doctor is essential once one has been diagnosed with glaucoma.
The Glaucoma Research Foundation is a national non-profit organization which funds research on glaucoma. Read more about glaucoma at the organization’s website.