Did you know that January is Glaucoma Awareness Month? It is an important time to try and create awareness about this shockingly common disease that is the leading cause of blindness in the United States. More than 3 million people in just the United States suffer from glaucoma, and the National Eye Institute predicts this number to increase in the next ten years by 58%.
One of the reasons why glaucoma is so dangerous is because there are no symptoms, which don’t allow people to identify and treat the disease. If the disease is left untreated it will more than likely lead to blindness, in which it is then irreversible. It is important to raise awareness about this disease to prevent more and more people across our nation from losing their site permanently.
What is glaucoma?
Glaucoma refers to a group of diseases, divided into types, that lead to blindness. It is most common in those middle-aged and older, as well as among African Americans and Latinos. Glaucoma attacks the optic nerve, which is responsible for the transmitting of information from the eye to the brain where visuals are processed and interpreted. While there is no cure for glaucoma, there is medication and surgery that can slow down its progression or prevent vision loss. The best scenario is that one catches the disease in its early stages before permanent damage occurs.
The different types of glaucoma
There are two different types of glaucoma, including primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG) and angle-closure glaucoma. Primary open angle glaucoma is the most common and occurs when the eye’s drainage regions become blocked. This pressure builds up and then leads to damage of the optic nerve. There are typically no symptoms of this type of glaucoma.
Angle-closure glaucoma is much less common. It occurs when the aqueous region of the eye cannot drain properly because the canal is either too narrow or is closed off. The pressure on the optic nerve can happen quickly and can actually include various symptoms including eye pain, headaches, blurred vision, and nausea. If you experience these symptoms you should visit your eye doctor in Arlington as soon as possible.
How to prevent glaucoma
The best and ultimately the only way to truly prevent glaucoma is to visit your eye doctor regularly for extensive eye exams to ensure you don’t have any prevalent signs of the disease. If you do, you must start treatment immediately. It is important to be aware of your risk, especially if you:
- Are over the age of 40
- Are of African American or Latino heritage
- Have family members with glaucoma
- Are far-sighted or near-sighted
- Have a thinning optic nerve
- Have pressure in your eyes
- Have corneas that are thin within the center
- Have diabetes
- Have poor blood circulation
- Suffer from migraines
Know your risk of glaucoma and regularly visit your optometrist to ensure you don’t incur permanent damage to your vision by this silent disease. Come visit our vision center in Arlington to see our expert vision specialist and ensure the health of your eyes. Here at First Eye Care, we provide caring and trustworthy care to our patients as they are our first priority. Contact us today.