As this month has been designated National Glaucoma Awareness Month, in this article we are here to spread the word about the importance of early diagnosis of this vision threatening disease. Glaucoma is a category of ocular diseases that damage the eye's optic nerve, which can cause a permanent loss of vision. If uncontrolled, the damage often first causes vision loss in the periphery of the visual field until it eventually results in total blindness. It is considered to be the leading reason for preventable vision loss and over 60 million individuals worldwide have the disease.
A contributing source of glaucoma is known to be increased pressure around the optic nerve called intraocular pressure. As pressure around the eye is elevated, this causes damage to the optic nerve which transports messages from the eye to the vision centers in the brain. In instances where this pathway is damaged vision is impaired. At the current time, optic nerve damage can't be reversed.
Glaucoma is especially dangerous because distinct from other forms of blindness, it is asymptomatic until vision is already lost.
It is due to this that glaucoma has acquired the nickname the "sneak thief of sight." The problem is how can a patient diagnose an illness which has no obvious symptoms?
Prompt diagnosis of glaucoma is important to successful treatment. Although everyone may be at risk for glaucoma, specific groups are more at risk than others. Risk factors for glaucoma may include anyone over 45 years of age, those with family members who have had glaucoma, individuals with a predisposition to diabetes, or other eye conditions such as myopia, hyperopia, eye injuries or high intraocular pressure.
To learn more about glaucoma find a qualified eye doctor. There are a series of diagnostic eye examinations employed to assess the beginnings of glaucoma. Particularly if you are 45 or older or have one of the other risk factors named above, make sure to schedule a routine eye exam on an annual basis.
It is unfortunate 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 prevented by early diagnosis and prompt treatment. Contact McCormick Vision Center now, for your annual glaucoma screening.