You might be surprised to hear that January is Glaucoma Awareness Month. Glaucoma is a leading cause of vision loss and blindness in the United States. Most people are unaware that glaucoma has no symptoms in its early stages. If detected early enough, glaucoma can usually be controlled. It is very important to us here at Northwest Eye Surgeons for everyone to be educated and informed about glaucoma and to get tested.
What is Glaucoma?
Glaucoma is a group of diseases that damage the eye’s optic nerve and can result in vision loss and blindness. Glaucoma affects peripheral (side) vision, narrowing the field of vision. The optic nerve is a bundle of more than 1 million nerve fibers that connect the retina to the brain. Damage to the optic nerve is caused by increased pressure from fluids that build up inside the eye. A healthy optic nerve is crucial for good vision.
Statistics and Facts about Glaucoma.
- It is estimated that over 3 million Americans have glaucoma but only half of those are aware of it
- Glaucoma accounts for 9-12% of blindness in the United States
- African Americans are 15 times more likely to be visually impaired from glaucoma
- The most common form of glaucoma is open-angle glaucoma
- Some forms of glaucoma have virtually no symptoms
Who is at Risk for Glaucoma?
Anyone can get glaucoma but there are some people who are at higher risk
- African Americans over the age of 40
- Everyone over the age of 60, especially Mexican Americans
- People with a family history of disease, especially glaucoma
How to Prevent Glaucoma?
The best way to prevent glaucoma is getting a comprehensive dilated eye exam. This exam will examine:
- Tonometry: The inner eye pressure
- Ophthalmoscopy: The shape and color of the optic nerve
- Perimetry: The complete field of vision
- Gonioscopy: The angle in the eye where the iris meets the cornea
- Pachymetry: The thickness of the cornea
How is Glaucoma Treated?
There is no cure for glaucoma yet, but it can be treated and managed if caught early enough. Treatments include medications, laser surgery, and traditional surgery. Contact our office at (614) 451-7750 or fill out our appointment request form to schedule your eye exam today.