Since January marks National Glaucoma Awareness Month, in this article we would like to emphasize the importance of being aware of the importance in detecting this vision threatening disease. Glaucoma is part of a group of progressive eye disorders that cause damage to the optic nerve, which may be a precursor to a loss of vision. If not treated, the damage often initially results in peripheral vision loss and can ultimately end up causing total blindness. It is the leading reason for avoidable vision loss and statistics show that over 60 million people around the world suffer from it.
The leading cause of glaucoma is considered to be elevated pressure within the eye. As pressure in the eye is elevated, this causes damage to the optic nerve which transports messages to the vision centre in the brain. In instances where this pathway doesn't function as needed, eyesight is impaired. Damage to the optic nerve damage is typically permanent. Glaucoma is especially dangerous because unlike other forms of blindness, there are no symptoms until vision is already lost. It is because of the disease's subtle nature that glaucoma is described as the "sneak thief of sight." The challenge is in detecting a condition which is asymptomatic.
Early diagnosis of the disease is essential for effective treatment. Although anyone can develop glaucoma, particular groups are more at risk than others. Major risk factors for glaucoma may include those over 45, anyone with a family history of glaucoma, diabetes, or known eye conditions such as elevated intraocular pressure. There are different types of glaucoma such as open-angle or closed angle glaucomas. As a general rule, both eyes are affected, but the disease has been known to progress more rapidly in one of the eyes.
The most effective way to detect glaucoma is to find a qualified eye doctor who can evaluate you. There are a number of diagnostic eye evaluations relied on by doctors to check for the beginnings of glaucoma. Especially if you are over 45 or have one of the other risk factors named above, it's important to plan for a routine eye examination annually. Unfortunately most kinds of glaucoma cannot be prevented. However the optic nerve damage and loss of vision may be slowed by timely diagnosis and prompt treatment. Don't delay! Contact Sheridan Optometric for an eye examination.