Glaucoma is a group of diseases that can steal sight without warning or symptoms. Statistics released and reported by the Glaucoma Research Foundation indicates that over four million Americans have Glaucoma … and only half are aware they have it!
Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of blindness in the U.S. It most often occurs in people over age 40, but can also strike about 1 out of every 10,000 babies born in the U.S. Young adults can also get Glaucoma. African American’s are susceptible at a younger age. Those who are very nearsighted or diabetic are at a higher risk of developing the disease.
Glaucoma, as a group of diseases, cause the internal pressure of the eye to increase enough to damage the nerve fibers in the optic nerve and cause vision loss. The increase in pressure occurs when the outflow passages that normally allow the outflow of fluid in the eyes to drain become clogged or blocked.
Open angle glaucoma, which is the most common type of glaucoma, develops gradually and painlessly, without symptoms. As the disease progresses, a person with glaucoma will not notice any symptoms until late in the disease when vision gradually fails with: blurred vision; loss of peripheral vision; difficulty focusing on objects; presence of halos around lights.
Glaucoma is a misunderstood disease, and it is extremely important to note that glaucoma is painless and can cause blindness if it is left untreated. I do not say this to frighten or upset you, but because I want to be sure you understand … Glaucoma is not curable yet, but is controllable, and vision loss CANNOT be regained. The important first step to preserving your vision is diagnosis and control through eye exams. This will hopefully allow prevention of vision loss, which is why we encourage everyone to come in for a thorough annual eye exam.
Glaucoma cannot be prevented, but if diagnosed and treated early, it can be controlled. Many people wonder why we dilate their eyes … again … receiving a dilated eye exam is the best and most effective way to detect glaucoma. The treatment for glaucoma includes prescription eye drops and medicines to lower the pressure in your eye. In some cases, laser treatment or surgery may be effective in reducing pressure.
We encourage you to learn more about Glaucoma. One of our favorite sites with great information on Glaucoma is the Glaucoma Research Foundation, which you can go to by clicking on the link … www.glaucoma.org … and navigate their site for more information. If you can join their organization and make a donation to find a cure, that would be nice too!