January is Glaucoma Awareness Month! Glaucoma is a leading cause of irreversible blindness in the United States, and it affects almost 3 million people today. It is caused by increased pressure within the eye, which eventually damages the optic nerve. Glaucoma is often hard to detect because there are no symptoms or warning signs in its early development. In fact, about half of people with glaucoma aren’t even aware they have the disease. This is why some people call glaucoma the “sneak thief of sight.”
It is important for everyone to take preventative action against glaucoma, but some groups are more at risk than others. Some higher risk groups include African Americans over age 40, people over 60, people with family history of glaucoma, and diabetics.
While there is no cure yet for glaucoma, vision can be preserved and progression can be slowed if detected early. The only way to be diagnosed with glaucoma is through a comprehensive dilated eye exam, so be sure to schedule a visit with your optometrist or ophthalmologist every year.
If you are interested in learning more about glaucoma, check out these links: