As January marks National Glaucoma Awareness Month, in this article we would like to emphasize the importance of early detection of this vision threatening disease. Glaucoma is a category of eye disorders that cause damage to the optic nerve, which may cause loss of central vision and eventual blindness. If untreated, the disease often initially causes vision loss in the periphery of the visual field and ultimately ends up causing a complete loss of vision. Glaucoma is considered to be the number one cause of preventable loss of vision and an estimated 60 million people around the world suffer from the vision threatening condition.
One of the leading causes of glaucoma is considered to be increased pressure in the eye. The increase in pressure around the eye damages the optic nerve which transmits messages from the eye to the brain. In instances where this system doesn't work normally, eyesight is impaired. Regrettably, optic nerve damage is usually irreversible.
Glaucoma is particularly threatening because unlike other forms of vision impairment, it is asymptomatic until irreparable damage is done.
It is for this reason that glaucoma has obtained the nickname the "sneak thief of sight." This may leave you asking: how does one safeguard against a disease which is asymptomatic?
Prompt diagnosis of the disease is the key to effective treatment. While glaucoma risk is universal, specific populations are at higher risk than others. Risk factors for glaucoma may include adults over 45, individuals having a family history of glaucoma, diabetes, or known eye conditions such as high intraocular pressure.
An effective way to detect glaucoma is to find a qualified eye doctor. There are a series of diagnostic eye evaluations relied on by doctors to assess intraocular pressure and the risk of glaucoma. Especially if you are over 45 or know that you are at risk, it's important to book a comprehensive eye examination at least once a year.
The fact is most types of glaucoma cannot be prevented. However the optic nerve damage and loss of vision may be halted by a reliable diagnosis and treatment. Don't delay! Contact North Reading Center Eye Care today, for annual screening for glaucoma.