Since January marks National Glaucoma Awareness Month, in this article we would like to spread the word about the importance of early detection of this vision threatening disease. Glaucoma is a class of eye diseases that damage the eye's optic nerve, which may cause a permanent loss of vision. When untreated, the damage often initially shows up as vision loss in the periphery of the field of vision and ultimately ends up causing total blindness. Glaucoma is the number one cause of avoidable blindness and an estimated sixty million individuals worldwide are afflicted with the disease.
One of the main sources of glaucoma is considered to be an increase in pressure around the optic nerve called intraocular pressure. As pressure around the eye increases, this damages the optic nerve which delivers signals to the vision centers in the brain. In instances where this pathway is damaged vision is impaired. At the current time, optic nerve damage is typically irreversible.
The most dangerous characteristic of glaucoma is that unlike other causes of blindness, there are no symptoms until vision is already lost.
It is because of the disease's subtle nature glaucoma is described as the "sneak thief of sight." The question is: how can one protect oneself against a disease which lacks any tell-tale symptoms?
Prompt detection of glaucoma is required for effective management. Although everyone may be at risk for glaucoma, specific populations have a higher risk than others. Risk factors for glaucoma can include anyone over 45, anyone having a family history of glaucoma, a predisposition towards diabetes, or other eye conditions such as myopia, hyperopia, eye injuries or high intraocular pressure.
There are a few different types of glaucoma such as open-angle or closed angle glaucomas. As a general rule, both eyes are affected, however the disease may advance more quickly in one eye than in the other.
The best way to detect glaucoma is to speak to your optometrist. There are several diagnostic eye examinations employed to check damage to the ocular nerves caused by glaucoma. Particularly if you are over 45 or have one of the other risk factors named above, you should book a routine eye exam annually.
The fact is most forms of glaucoma cannot be prevented. Nevertheless the damage to the optic nerve and deterioration of vision can be prevented by timely diagnosis and proper treatment. Contact Park Professional Eyecare now, for annual glaucoma screening.