Since this month marks National Glaucoma Awareness Month, in this article we are here to stress the importance of being aware of the indications of this vision threatening disease. Glaucoma is a category of progressive eye diseases that cause damage to the optic nerve, which can lead to blindness. If uncontrolled, the disease often first shows up as vision loss in the periphery of the field of vision until it eventually results in a complete loss of vision. It is considered to be the number one cause of preventable loss of vision and according to estimates, over sixty million individuals worldwide have the vision threatening condition.
The primary source of glaucoma is considered to be increased pressure in the eye. As pressure around the eye increases, this damages the optic nerve which delivers signals from the eye to the brain. In instances where this pathway is damaged vision is affected. Unfortunately, damage to the optic nerve is usually untreatable.
Glaucoma is particularly threatening because unlike other forms of blindness, there are no symptoms until vision is already lost.
It is for this reason that glaucoma is often called the "sneak thief of sight." The question is: how can a patient detect an illness which lacks any tell-tale symptoms?
Early detection of the disease is important to effective treatment. While everyone may be at risk for glaucoma, specific populations are at higher risk than others. Risk factors for glaucoma can include anyone over 45 years of age, those with a family history of glaucoma, diabetes, or known eye problems such as high intraocular pressure.
There are many different types of glaucoma such as open-angle or closed angle glaucomas. The condition usually affects both eyes, although the disease can advance more rapidly in one eye than in the other.
To learn more about glaucoma find a qualified optometrist. There are several diagnostic eye tests used to measure damage to the ocular nerves caused by glaucoma. Especially if you are over 45 or know that you are at risk, make sure to schedule a routine eye examination annually.
Unfortunately most forms of glaucoma are not preventable. However the damage to the optic nerve and deterioration of vision can be prevented by timely diagnosis and proper treatment. Contact Dr. Powers and Associates today, for an annual glaucoma screening.