The Glaucoma Research Foundation reports over three million individuals in the United States with the condition. Experts show that 50 percent of people with glaucoma are unaware of their eye condition and health status. Projections by the National Eye Institute expect the numbers to increase to 58 percent by 2030.
Glaucoma can develop without symptoms initially. If untreated, it can cause gradual vision loss. The blindness epidemic will keep increasing if glaucoma awareness does not increase.
Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases that increase the fluid level in the eye. This can cause a gradual loss of sight that often happens without warning. It can affect individuals of all ages, though it usually affects the elderly and middle-aged.
The resulting optic nerve damage causes vision loss. The optic nerve plays the vital role of carrying images from your eyes to your brain.
Your eyes maintain function by keeping a steady fluid balance. Pressure builds up around your optic nerve when there is excessive fluid. Your optic nerve can get irreversible damage if the pressure remains unrelieved.
Glaucoma has no cure. However, surgery or medication can prevent or slow vision loss. Your doctor will recommend treatment based on the type of glaucoma you have, among various factors.
Below are the two main types of glaucoma:
People of Hispanic, Asian, or African descent are at a higher risk of getting glaucoma. There are also high-risk groups like people above 60, those with severe myopia, diabetics, and family members of individuals with glaucoma.
You are at a high risk of glaucoma if you have a diagnosed family member. Taking corticosteroids for hypertension or diabetes increases your risk. Below are more risk factors:
Get your eyes regularly examined, especially if you are at a high risk of glaucoma. Early detection helps with the prevention of unnecessary loss of sight. A comprehensive eye exam is the best way to protect your vision.
Your optometrist can help diagnose the condition through a comprehensive eye examination. They will dilate your pupils so they can closely look at the structure of your eyes, including your optic nerve. They will then measure your eye pressure using a unique instrument. The results will determine the course of treatment to reduce abnormal ocular pressure. Glaucoma treatment usually entails oral medications or prescribed eye drops.
Glaucoma is the leading cause of permanent vision loss or blindness for individuals over 60 and the second leading cause globally. However, early treatment can help prevent blindness caused by glaucoma.
The World Health Organization estimates around 4.5 million people worldwide suffer from glaucoma. Glaucoma Awareness Month presents a unique opportunity to get the appropriate information to help you understand glaucoma and ensure you get your eyes examined.
For more about glaucoma, visit North Georgia Eye Care at our office in Winder, Georgia. Call (770) 867-1913 to book an appointment today.