Since this month is National Glaucoma Awareness Month, this post is intended to stress the importance of recognizing the threat of glaucoma. Glaucoma is the term for a group of progressive eye diseases that cause damage to the eye's optic nerve, which may lead to loss of central vision and eventual blindness. If not treated, the disease often first results in vision loss in the periphery of the visual field and ultimately ends up causing total blindness. It is thought to be the number one cause of avoidable vision loss and, according to estimates, over sixty million people around the world are afflicted with the disease.
A significant cause of glaucoma is known to be elevated pressure around the optic nerve called intraocular pressure. The elevation in pressure damages the optic nerve which transports messages from the eye to the vision centers in the brain. When this pathway doesn't work as needed, vision is impaired. At the current time, damage to the optic nerve can't be corrected.
The most concerning fact about glaucoma is that distinct from other causes of vision impairment, it is an asymptomatic condition until vision is already lost.
This is why glaucoma has obtained the nickname the "sneak thief of sight." This may leave you wondering: how is it possible to prevent a disease which lacks any obvious symptoms?
Early diagnosis of the disease is essential for effective management. While glaucoma risk is universal, certain populations are more at risk than others. Major risk factors for glaucoma may include anyone over 45 years old, anyone with family members who have had glaucoma, a predisposition towards diabetes, or other eye conditions such as myopia, hyperopia, eye injuries or high intraocular pressure.
To learn more about glaucoma speak to your eye doctor. There are a number of diagnostic eye tests relied on by doctors to check the beginnings of glaucoma. Particularly if you are over 45 or know that you are at risk, it's important to schedule a comprehensive eye examination annually.
It is unfortunate that most types of glaucoma cannot be prevented. That being said, the deterioration of sight can be stopped by timely diagnosis and proper treatment. Don't delay! Contact Fox Chase Family Eye Care today, for your annual glaucoma screening.