As this month is National Glaucoma Awareness Month, this post is intended to review the importance of being aware of the threat of this vision threatening disease. Glaucoma is the term for a category of progressive ocular diseases that cause damage to the eye's optic nerve, which may be a precursor to loss of central vision and eventual blindness. When untreated, glaucoma often initially shows up as vision loss in the periphery of the field of vision and ultimately ends up causing total blindness. Glaucoma is considered to be the number one reason for avoidable loss of vision and an estimated sixty million people around the world are afflicted with the disease.
The main source of glaucoma is known to be increased pressure in the eye. The increase in pressure around the eye causes damage to the optic nerve which is responsible for delivering messages to the brain. When this system is damaged eyesight is impaired. Regrettably, damage to the optic nerve is usually irreversible.
The most threatening fact about glaucoma is that distinct from other causes of vision loss, it is asymptomatic until it may be too late.
It is for this reason that glaucoma has acquired the nickname the "sneak thief of sight." The question is: how is it possible to protect yourself against an illness which has no obvious symptoms?
Prompt diagnosis of the disease is important to effective treatment. Although everyone may be at risk for glaucoma, particular populations are at higher risk than others. Risk factors for glaucoma can include anyone over 45 years old, anyone having family members who have had glaucoma, individuals with diabetes, or known eye conditions such as high intraocular pressure.
There are different classes of glaucoma such as open or close angle glaucomas. Both eyes are usually affected, but the disease may progress more rapidly in one eye than in the other.
An effective way to detect glaucoma is to contact an optometrist. There are several diagnostic eye examinations relied on by doctors to check intraocular pressure and the risk of glaucoma. Particularly if you are 45 or older or know that you are at risk, you should book a comprehensive eye exam on an annual basis.
The truth is that for the most part glaucoma is not preventable. Nevertheless the optic nerve damage and loss of vision can be halted by early diagnosis and proper treatment. Don't delay! Contact Dr. Margo Boler and Associates now, for an annual screening for glaucoma.