To create awareness about the ''sneak thief of sight,'' January has been declared National Glaucoma Awareness Month. Glaucoma is the second leading cause of permanent vision loss, accounting for 9%-12% of all cases of total vision loss in the United States and effecting nearly 70 million people around the world. Due to the fact that glaucoma is initially asymptomatic, research shows that nearly 50% of patients with glaucoma are unaware of their condition.
Glaucoma is actually a number of ocular diseases that damage the eye's optic nerve, which is responsible for carrying images to be processed in the brain. Although anyone can develop glaucoma, there are certain populations that are more likely to develop it such as African Americans above age 40, anyone over age 60, in particular of Mexican ancestry, and individuals with a family history of the disease.
Because blindness due to optic nerve damage is irreversible, sight can only be preserved through early diagnosis. This is difficult however, because symptoms rarely manifest before damage has occurred, and usually start with an irreparable loss of peripheral (side) vision.
The NIH's National Eye Institute recently found that while glaucoma was known to ninety percent of the people they surveyed, only eight percent were aware that it presents no early warning symptoms. Only a qualified eye doctor can detect the initial effects of glaucoma, using a thorough glaucoma screening. We suggest an annual screening as the best way to protect your vision from this potentially devastating disease. Contact us to schedule a comprehensive eye exam today.