January is National Glaucoma Awareness Month, an important time to spread the word about this sight stealing disease.
Glaucoma is called “the sneak thief of sight” since there are no symptoms and once vision is lost, it’s permanent. As much as 40% of vision can be lost without a person noticing.
Glaucoma is the leading cause of preventable blindness. Moreover, among African American and Latino populations, glaucoma is the leading cause of blindness, and it is more prevalent. Glaucoma is 6 to 8 times more common in African Americans than Caucasians.
Over 3 million Americans, and over 60 million people worldwide, have glaucoma. Experts estimate that half of them don’t know they have it. Combined with our aging population, we can see an epidemic of blindness looming if we don’t raise awareness about the importance of regular eye examinations to preserve vision.
Six Simple Ways to Pamper Your Peepers.
- Read in good light. Dim light won’t hurt your eyes but can tire them more quickly.
- If it bothers your eyes to watch television in a dark room, keep a light on.
- If you have glasses or contacts, use them. You won’t have to strain so hard to see.
- Use an anti-glare filter on your computer monitor.
- Position the monitor so it’s at or just below eye level and a little farther away than you’d hold a book while reading.
- Take frequent breaks from whatever you’re doing to give your eye muscles a rest.
Glaucoma Facts and Statistics
Glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness in the world, according to the World Health Organization. In the 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.
The best way to protect your sight from glaucoma is to get a comprehensive eye examination. Then, if you have glaucoma, treatment can begin immediately.
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.
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. Early detection is vital to stopping the progress of the disease. Watch a video from the research scientists working to find a cure.
Types of Glaucoma
There are two main types of glaucoma: primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG), and angleclosure glaucoma. These are marked by an increase of intraocular pressure (IOP), or pressure inside the eye. When optic nerve damage has occurred despite a normal IOP, this is called normal tension glaucoma. Secondary glaucoma refers to any case in which another disease causes or contributes to increased eye pressure, resulting in optic nerve damage and vision loss.
Regular eye exams are especially important for those at higher risk for glaucoma, and may help to prevent unnecessary vision loss.