Glaucoma Awareness Month is Here!
Glaucoma is known as the silent thief of sight, as it is painless and people sometimes don’t realize they have a problem until they have lost significant amounts of vision. Anybody with a family history, diabetes or nearsightedness is at increased risk and should be screened annually."
Currently, more than 3 million people in the United States have glaucoma. The National Eye Institute projects this number will reach 4.2 million by 2030, a 58% increase, and, as there are no symptoms, once vision is lost, it’s permanent. As much as 40% of vision can be lost without a person noticing.
What is Glaucoma?
Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases that gradually steal sight without warning. Although the most common forms primarily affect the middle-aged and the elderly, glaucoma can affect people of all ages. Vision loss is caused by damage to the optic nerve. This nerve acts like an electric cable with over a million wires. It is responsible for carrying images from the eye to the brain.
Can Glaucoma Be Treated?
There is no cure for glaucoma—yet. However, medication or surgery can slow or prevent further vision loss. The appropriate treatment depends upon the type of glaucoma, among other factors.
By using new diagnostic techniques, we are now able to pick up glaucoma cases earlier. Newer treatment options with MIGs (microinvasive glaucoma surgery) offers additional treatments for our patients to preserve their precious vision."
Are You at Risk for Glaucoma?
Those at higher risk include people of African, Asian, and Hispanic descent. Other high-risk groups include: people over 60, family members of those already diagnosed, diabetics, and people who are severely nearsighted. Regular eye exams are especially important for those at higher risk for glaucoma, and may help to prevent unnecessary vision loss.