As this month has been designated National Glaucoma Awareness Month, this post is intended to stress the importance of being aware of the indications of this vision threatening disease. Glaucoma is a category of eye disorders that damage the optic nerve, which may lead to loss of central vision and eventual blindness. When not treated, glaucoma often initially causes peripheral vision loss until it eventually results in total blindness. Glaucoma is the number one reason for avoidable vision loss and statistics show that over 60 million people around the world are afflicted with the vision threatening condition.
The leading source of glaucoma is known to be an increase in pressure in the eye. As the pressure increases, this causes damage to the optic nerve which is responsible for delivering messages from the eye to the vision centers in the brain. When this system doesn't work as needed, vision is affected. At the current time, optic nerve damage is usually irreversible.
The most dangerous characteristic of glaucoma is that distinct from other forms of vision loss, it is an asymptomatic condition until irreparable damage is done.
This is why glaucoma has obtained the nickname the "sneak thief of sight." The problem is: is it possible to protect yourself against a disease which lacks any tell-tale symptoms?
Early diagnosis of the disease is essential for effective care. Although glaucoma risk is universal, particular groups are more at risk than others. Serious risk factors for glaucoma may include anyone over 45, individuals having a family history of glaucoma, a predisposition towards diabetes, or other eye conditions such as myopia, hyperopia, eye injuries or elevated intraocular pressure.
The best way to detect glaucoma is to speak to your optometrist. There are a series of diagnostic eye evaluations used to assess intraocular pressure and the risk of glaucoma. Particularly if you are over 45 or have one of the other risk factors named above, you should book a comprehensive eye exam at least once a year.
The fact is most forms of glaucoma cannot be prevented. That being said, the loss of sight caused by damage to the optic nerve can be halted by a reliable diagnosis and prompt treatment. Contact Dr. Michael Brodsky OD & Associates now, for a yearly screening for glaucoma.