Since January is National Glaucoma Awareness Month, in this article we are here to spread the word about the importance of being aware of the threat of glaucoma. Glaucoma is the term for a class of eye diseases that damage the optic nerve, which can cause loss of central vision and eventual blindness. If uncontrolled, the disease often initially results in peripheral vision loss and then moves to a complete loss of vision. It is the number one cause of avoidable blindness and statistics show that over 60 million people worldwide suffer from the vision threatening condition.
One of the main causes of glaucoma is known to be increased pressure in the eye known as intraocular pressure. As the pressure increases, this damages the optic nerve which is responsible for delivering messages from the eye to the vision centers in the brain. In instances where this system is damaged vision is affected. Regrettably, damage to the optic nerve is typically permanent.
Glaucoma is especially dangerous because unlike other forms of vision impairment, there are no symptoms until irreparable damage is done.
It is because of the disease's subtle nature glaucoma is known as the "sneak thief of sight." The question is how does one detect a disease which lacks any tell-tale symptoms?
Early detection of the disease is necessary for successful treatment. While everyone may be at risk for glaucoma, specific populations have a higher risk than others. Risk factors for glaucoma can include anyone over 45, anyone with a family history of glaucoma, diabetes, or known eye conditions such as elevated intraocular pressure.
There are many different kinds of glaucoma such as open-angle or closed angle glaucomas. The condition usually affects both eyes, although the disease has been known to advance more rapidly in one of the eyes.
An effective way to detect glaucoma is to speak to an eye doctor. There are a series of diagnostic eye tests employed to assess the beginnings of glaucoma. Particularly if you are 45 or older or have one of the other risk factors named above, you should plan for a routine eye examination on an annual basis.
Unfortunately for the most part glaucoma is not preventable. Nevertheless the deterioration of sight may be prevented by early diagnosis and quick treatment. Don't delay! Contact Dr. Donald Knapp today, for a yearly screening for glaucoma.