January is National Glaucoma Awareness Month, Glaucoma is a "Sight Stealing Disease" and it's time to spread the word.
According to an article written by the Glaucoma Research Foundation, there are currently more than 3 million people in the United Stated that have Glaucoma. This number is expected to rise to nearly 4.2 million by 2030.
"The Sneak Thief of Sight" is Glaucoma's MO ( Modus Operandi). With Glaucoma symptoms are rare and once one vision is gone, it's gone. Glaucoma is the leading cause of irreversible blindness.
What it Glaucoma?
Glaucoma is caused by an increase in pressure in the eye, which in turn puts pressure on the optic nerve causing permanent vision loss if not caught in time. Think of the eye as a sink. Fluid is circulated from the lens part of the eye, through the front side of the lens and then back into the eye. If for some reason fluid is not allowed to circulate, pressure will start increases and damage will be done to the optic nerve. Once the damage is done there is no bringing it back.
Glaucoma has no cure, but can be managed with medication or surgery to prevent further vision loss. Appropriate treatment depends on the type of glaucoma among other factors. Early detection is key in stopping the progression of the disease.
Types of Glaucoma:
There are two types are Glaucoma:
Open-angle Glaucoma is the most common form of the disease. Fluid will circulate to the front part of the eye but can not drain back into the eye causing pressure to build. The pressure damages the optic nerve. This happens very slowly and you may lose vision before you're are even aware that you are.
Angle-Closure Glaucoma occurs when he iris part of the eye bulges outwards and cuts off the circulation of fluid to the front of the eye Angle-closure Glaucoma can happen suddenly (acute) or gradually (chronic).
Because chronic forms of glaucoma can destroy vision before any signs or symptoms are apparent, be aware of these risk factors:
Having high internal eye pressure (intraocular pressure).
Being over age 60.
Having a family history of glaucoma.
Having certain medical conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and sickle cell anemia.
Having corneas that are thin in the center.
Being extremely nearsighted or farsighted.
Having had an eye injury or certain types of eye surgery.
Taking corticosteroid medications, especially eyedrops, for a long time.
How to Prevent Glaucoma
Go for Frequent Eye Exams: If you are over the age of 40, have a family history of Glaucoma, and/or are a suspect for Glaucoma, make sure you get an eye exam at least every year.
Wear eye protection: Serious eye injuries can lead to Glaucoma. So from working with power tools to playing tennis make sure you wear good quality eye protection.
Take prescribed eyedrops regularly. Glaucoma eyedrops can significantly reduce the risk that high eye pressure will progress to glaucoma. To be effective, eyedrops prescribed by your doctor need to be used regularly even if you have no symptoms.