Since January has been designated National Glaucoma Awareness Month, in this article we are here to stress the importance of early diagnosis of this vision threatening disease. Glaucoma is a category of eye diseases that cause damage to the eye's optic nerve, which can lead to a permanent loss of vision. When untreated, the damage often initially causes vision loss in the periphery of the visual field until it eventually results in total blindness. It is considered to be the number one cause of preventable vision loss and statistics show that over sixty million people worldwide have the disease.
One of the main causes of glaucoma is considered to be elevated pressure in the eye called intraocular pressure. The increase in pressure around the eye causes damage to the optic nerve which delivers messages to the brain. In instances where this system doesn't work properly, vision is affected. Unfortunately, optic nerve damage is typically untreatable.
The most concerning characteristic of glaucoma is that unlike other forms of vision loss, there are no indicators that serve as a warning until it may be too late.
This is why glaucoma has acquired the nickname the "sneak thief of sight." The quandary is: how is it possible to detect a condition which has no obvious symptoms?
Early detection of glaucoma is essential for effective care. Although everyone may be at risk for glaucoma, certain populations have a higher risk than others. Risk factors for glaucoma can include those over 45 years old, those with family members who have had glaucoma, individuals with a predisposition towards diabetes, or known eye conditions such as elevated intraocular pressure.
There are many different categories of glaucoma such as open or close angle glaucomas. As a general rule, both eyes are affected, but the disease has been known to advance more quickly in one eye than in the other.
The best way to detect glaucoma is to contact an optometrist. There are a series of diagnostic eye evaluations used to measure the beginnings of glaucoma. Particularly if you are 45 or older or know that you are at risk, make sure to schedule a routine eye examination annually.
It is unfortunate that for the most part glaucoma is not preventable. That being said, the optic nerve damage and loss of vision may be halted by early diagnosis and treatment. Contact Complete Family Vision Care now, for your annual screening for glaucoma.