Beware The Silent Thief of Sight
January is Glaucoma Awareness Month, a good time to spread awareness of this sight-stealing disease.
Today, research has indicated that more than 3 million Americans ages 40 and over have glaucoma. The scariest part: many don’t know they have it! That’s why this disease has the nickname “The Silent Thief of Sight” because there are usually no symptoms. In recognition of Glaucoma Awareness Month, here are answers to common questions about glaucoma that will help you fight back against this sight-stealing thief.
What is glaucoma and what are the symptoms?
Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of blindness in the world. The condition elevates eye pressure, damaging the optic nerve. The optic nerve transmits images from the eye to the brain. Damage to the nerve leads to irreversible vision loss. Those with glaucoma can experience slow and painless loss of vision, which they rarely notice until it is quite severe.
Who is most at risk of developing glaucoma?
There are some people who are at a higher risk of developing glaucoma than others. They include:
- Individuals with diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease
- People with a family history of glaucoma
- Adults 40 and older (rarely affecting younger ages)
- Someone who is extremely farsighted or nearsighted
- People of African American, Hispanic, Inuit, Irish, Japanese, Russian, and Scandinavian descent
What treatment methods exist for glaucoma?
If diagnosed with glaucoma, there are several treatment methods that exist to help you manage the disease. One of the most common treatment methods is prescription eye drops. The eyedrops lower the pressure in the eye and therefore prevent damage to your optic nerve. A simple laser procedure is also a common treatment that is used to lower pressure in the eye. If other methods are ineffective, a doctor might recommend surgery. Treatments vary depending on the diagnosis so make sure to talk to a doctor about what treatment method is best for you.
How can vision loss be prevented?
Unfortunately, there’s no way to get vision back once it’s lost. However, there are ways to help detect glaucoma and prevent vision loss early on. Aside from actively pursuing a healthy lifestyle, the best way to protect your sight is to schedule regular eye exams. These exams are essential. When the disease is found early, the chances of slowing down the damaging effects increase.
How can someone help raise awareness?
Talking. Yes, it’s as simple as that. Talk to your family and friends about glaucoma. Make others aware of how important it is to schedule regular eye exams. Everyone deserves a life full of sight.
Even though it is treatable, there is no cure for glaucoma—yet. Research for glaucoma cures continues to grow. As Glaucoma Awareness Month, January is a great time to check up on your eye health. Make sure to stay up-to-date on your eye exams and encourage others to do so as well. Sterling Vision has experienced optometrists and ophthalmologists ready to take care of all your eye needs. Call 541-262-0597 or schedule an appointment online.