Glaucoma Awareness Month
What Is Glaucoma?
Glaucoma awareness is so important that we start each year with Glaucoma awareness month. Glaucoma is a disease that damages the optic nerve in your eye. Glaucoma occurs when fluid builds up in your eye, increasing eyes pressure. The increase in pressure slowly damages the millions of fibers that make up the optic nerve. Vision loss is caused by damage to the optic nerve. In its most common form there are virtually no symptoms. Vision loss begins with peripheral or side vision, so if you have glaucoma you may not notice anything until significant vision is lost.
Symptoms Of Glaucoma
It is important to raise glaucoma awareness because it is a slowly progressing condition, so half of the estimated three million Americans living with glaucoma don’t even know they have it. There are several reasons glaucoma can go undetected, including:
- Most types of glaucoma are painless, with no feelings of discomfort.
- Changes to vision due to glaucoma are usually gradual, making it difficult to notice changes.
- Although there are rarely noticeable visual symptoms in the early stages of glaucoma, vision loss begins at the nasal peripheral areas of vision.
- It’s not uncommon for glaucoma to affect one eye more severely, and we compensate for the loss.
- Because glaucoma is often associated with aging (although it can affect anyone at any age), subtle vision changes can be accepted as part of the aging process.
Who’s at Risk for Glaucoma?
Anyone can get glaucoma, including children, and everyone should be screened for glaucoma, but there some people have a higher risk, including:
- People over age 60, especially Hispanics/Latinos
- African Americans over age 40
- People with a family history of glaucoma
What Can You Do?
While there is no cure for glaucoma, early detection and treatment can often prevent significant damage and save your eyesight. The only way to find out if you have glaucoma is to get a comprehensive dilated eye exam. So the best way to protect your sight from glaucoma is to get a comprehensive eye exam every year.
Contact one of our Select Eyecare locations today to schedule your annual exam.