As this month has been designated National Glaucoma Awareness Month, this post is intended to stress the importance of knowing about the threat of glaucoma. Glaucoma is the term for a group of progressive ocular diseases that cause damage to the eye's optic nerve, which may cause irreversible blindness. If untreated, glaucoma often initially results in peripheral vision loss and ultimately ends up causing total blindness. Glaucoma is thought to be the number one cause of avoidable loss of vision and statistics show that over 60 million individuals around the world have it.
The main cause of glaucoma is thought to be increased pressure in the eye. As pressure around the eye is elevated, this damages the optic nerve which transports messages from the eye to the brain. When this pathway doesn't function properly, eyesight is impaired. Unfortunately, damage to the optic nerve is usually permanent.
Glaucoma is particularly threatening because unlike other causes of vision loss, there are no indicators that serve as a warning until irreparable damage is done.
It is for this reason that glaucoma is known as the "sneak thief of sight." The problem is how can a patient prevent an illness which lacks any tell-tale symptoms?
Early detection of the disease is the key to successful treatment. Although glaucoma risk is universal, certain populations are more at risk than others. Major risk factors for glaucoma can include those over 45, those with a family history of glaucoma, individuals with a predisposition to diabetes, or other eye conditions such as myopia, hyperopia, eye injuries or elevated intraocular pressure.
There are many different types of glaucoma such as open or close angle glaucomas. The condition usually affects both eyes, although the disease may advance more rapidly in one eye than in the other.
An effective way to detect glaucoma is to speak to your eye doctor. There are several diagnostic eye evaluations employed to assess intraocular pressure and the risk of glaucoma. Particularly if you are over 45 or know that you are at risk, make sure to plan for a routine eye examination annually.
The truth is that most types of glaucoma are not preventable. However the damage to the optic nerve and deterioration of vision may be stopped by early diagnosis and quick treatment. Contact Livingston EyeCare Associates now, for a yearly screening for glaucoma.