Since this month marks National Glaucoma Awareness Month, in this article we are here to spread the word about the importance of recognizing the threat of this vision threatening disease. Glaucoma is the term for a group of ocular disorders that damage the optic nerve, which may lead to loss of central vision and eventual blindness. When not treated, glaucoma often initially shows up as vision loss in the periphery of the field of vision and then moves to a complete loss of vision. Glaucoma is considered to be the primary cause of avoidable vision loss and, according to estimates, over sixty million individuals worldwide are afflicted with it.
The primary source of glaucoma is considered to be increased pressure in the eye called intraocular pressure. The elevation in pressure damages the optic nerve which transports messages to the vision centers in the brain. When this pathway doesn't function properly, eyesight is impaired. Regrettably, damage to the optic nerve can't be reversed.
Glaucoma is especially dangerous because unlike other causes of blindness, it is asymptomatic until irreparable damage is done.
It is because of the disease's subtle nature glaucoma has obtained the nickname the "sneak thief of sight." This may leave you asking: is it possible to safeguard against a disease which is asymptomatic?
Prompt diagnosis of the disease is required for effective management. While everyone may be at risk for glaucoma, specific populations are more at risk than others. Risk factors for glaucoma may include anyone over 45 years old, those with a family history of glaucoma, a predisposition to diabetes, or other eye conditions such as myopia, hyperopia, eye injuries or elevated intraocular pressure.
You can learn more about glaucoma if you speak to an eye doctor. There are a series of diagnostic eye examinations relied on by doctors to check damage to the ocular nerves caused by glaucoma. Especially if you are over 45 or know that you are at risk, you should plan for a comprehensive eye examination on an annual basis.
It is unfortunate that most forms of glaucoma are not preventable. That being said, the optic nerve damage and loss of vision may be stopped by timely diagnosis and proper treatment. Don't delay! Contact Dr. Gretchen J. Brewer O.D. and Associates now, for an annual screening for glaucoma.