Help Raise Glaucoma Awareness
Vision loss is caused by damage to the optic nerve. This nerve acts like an electric cable with over a million wires. It is responsible for carrying images from the eye to the brain. Frequently called “the sneak thief of sight,” glaucoma consists of a group of eye diseases that affect your optic nerve, stealing sight without warning. (Did you know 40% of your vision can be lost without noticing?) Experts estimate that half of people with glaucoma don’t know they have it. Although the most common forms primarily affect the middle-aged and the elderly, glaucoma can affect people of all ages.
Glaucoma is the leading cause of preventable blindness. There is no cure – yet; however, medication, laser procedures, and surgery can slow or prevent vision loss. The appropriate treatment depends upon the type of glaucoma and the severity. Early detection is vital to stopping the disease and preventing permanent vision loss.
Are you at risk for glaucoma? Those at higher risk include people over 65 years old, direct relatives with glaucoma, high eye pressure, and people of African or Hispanic descent. Regular eye exams are especially important for those at higher risk for glaucoma and may help to prevent unnecessary vision loss.
While more than three million people in the United States have glaucoma, the National Eye Institute projects this number will reach 4.2 million by 2030. On a global scale, the World Health Organization estimates that 4.5 million people worldwide are blind due to glaucoma. In the United States, approximately 120,000 are blind in both eyes from glaucoma, accounting for 9% to 12% of all cases of blindness.
An epidemic of blindness is looming. Help raise awareness of glaucoma by having regular eye exams and encouraging family and friend to do the same. You could help preserve vision and prevent progressive vision loss from glaucoma.
Scott Piette, D.O. – February 2016