Glaucoma Awareness Month
January is Glaucoma Awareness Month in the US. Did you know that more than three million people in our country alone are living with glaucoma – and that this number is only expected to grow? Glaucoma is a particularly problematic eye condition because it causes no symptoms at first, and once it affects your vision, the damage is irreversible. In fact, a person may be able to lose up to 40% of their sight before noticing that there is a problem. Glaucoma Awareness Month offers an excellent opportunity to raise awareness and encourage people to stick to a schedule of regular eye exams to reveal issues early on and protect their vision.
Can glaucoma be cured if caught early?
There is no cure for glaucoma. However, early treatment is key to slowing its progression. Glaucoma involves a buildup of pressure in the eye, which damages the optic nerve. Treatment focuses on lowering this pressure. Because glaucoma often has no symptoms until much of the vision has already been lost, early identification and treatment is essential, as is adherence to the doctor’s recommended course of treatment.
How do you prevent glaucoma?
If you are at risk for glaucoma, you’ll want to do everything you can to prevent or delay the condition. You may not be able to avoid it entirely, but you can minimize your risk by getting regular eye exams to identify early signs. Some physicians may even recommend treatment in order to delay the onset of glaucoma if the risk is high.
Can anyone get glaucoma?
Yes, anyone can get glaucoma; in fact, babies can even be born with it. However, it is more common in older people and people with multiple risk factors. The risk factors for glaucoma include a family history of the disease, thin corneas, severe myopia, diabetes, high blood pressure, eye injury or surgery, and heart disease.
What is the first symptoms of glaucoma?
Different people experience different symptoms with glaucoma. You may have no symptoms at all until your vision loss is pronounced. In some instances, you may experience eye pain. For example, in an acute angle-closure glaucoma attack, you may experience severe eye pain accompanied by a headache and nausea or vomiting. A rapid increase in eye pressure causes this type of attack, and it is an emergency – seek medical advice immediately.
Can glaucoma be stopped?
There are steps you can take to slow down glaucoma and help preserve your vision, which is why regular eye exams are so important. Follow your eye doctor’s recommendations for how often you should be seen. If your doctor does find signs of glaucoma, early treatment is key. Treating glaucoma immediately can help keep your eyesight from becoming worse, or it can delay vision loss until much later.
How serious is glaucoma?
If left untreated, glaucoma is a serious, lifelong disease that can eventually lead to complete vision loss. However, for most patients, blindness is not inevitable. Modern treatments can control glaucoma and help stop it from damaging the eyes further. Treatment cannot reverse the damage that has already occurred, but it can often prevent the damage from continuing to worsen.
Whether you have noticed troubling symptoms or simply need a routine exam to ensure that your eyes are healthy, contact us to schedule your appointment.