Since January marks National Glaucoma Awareness Month, this post is intended to review the importance of recognizing the signs of glaucoma. Glaucoma is the term for a class of progressive ocular diseases that cause damage to the optic nerve, which can lead to blindness. When untreated, the damage often first causes peripheral vision loss and then moves to total blindness. It is thought to be the primary cause of preventable blindness and an estimated 60 million individuals around the world have the disease.
The leading cause of glaucoma is thought to be an increase in pressure in the eye referred to as intraocular pressure. The increase in pressure around the eye causes damage to the optic nerve which transmits messages to the brain. In instances where this pathway doesn't work normally, vision is impaired. At the current time, optic nerve damage is typically irreversible.
Glaucoma is especially threatening because distinct from other forms of vision impairment, there are no symptoms that warn of the existence of the condition until irreparable damage is done.
This is why glaucoma is often called the "sneak thief of sight." This may leave you asking is it possible to detect an illness which lacks any tell-tale symptoms?
Early detection of the disease is crucial to successful treatment. While everyone may be at risk for glaucoma, specific groups have a higher risk than others. Major risk factors for glaucoma can include anyone over 45, individuals having family members who have had glaucoma, a predisposition to diabetes, or known eye conditions such as high intraocular pressure.
The best way to detect glaucoma is to contact an optometrist. There are several diagnostic eye tests employed to check intraocular pressure and the risk of glaucoma. Especially if you are over 45 or have one of the other risk factors named above, it's important to book a comprehensive eye examination at least once a year.
The truth is that for the most part glaucoma cannot be prevented. That being said the loss of sight caused by damage to the optic nerve can be halted by a reliable diagnosis and prompt treatment. Contact Allied Vision Services now, for a yearly glaucoma screening.