January is National Glaucoma Awareness Month. We are here to spread the word about this sight-stealing disease! Glaucoma currently affects OVER 3 million people in the United States alone! This number is projected to increase to 4.2 million by 2030, according to the National Eye Institute.
This number is very alarming, especially if you don’t know much about Glaucoma. What are the warning signs? What should you do if you think you have Glaucoma? What are the treatment options? Keep reading to find out more!
For those of you questioning what Glaucoma is and how it could affect you, here’s some quick background information:
- Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases
- It is an increase of pressure within the eye that ultimately causes optic nerve damage
- Glaucoma is the leading cause of preventable blindness
- Once vision is lost due to Glaucoma, it is permanent
- It is common in the elderly and middle-aged people, but can affect people of all ages
SYMPTOMS OF GLAUCOMA
- Most people have NO symptoms until they begin to lose vision
- Gradual loss of peripheral (side) vision (also called tunnel vision)
- Symptoms may come and go at first, or steadily become worse
- Sudden, severe pain in one eye
- Decreased or cloudy vision
- Nausea and vomiting
- Rainbow-like halos around lights
- Red eye
- Eye feels swollen
- Symptoms are usually noticed when the child is a few months old
- Cloudiness of the front of the eye
- Enlargement of one eye or both eyes
- Red eye
- Sensitivity to light
WHY ANNUAL EYE EXAMS ARE SO IMPORTANT
It is commonly called the “the sneak thief of sight”, because you could lose up to 40% of your vision without noticing any symptoms. Those with family members who have Glaucoma have a higher risk of it, but it isn’t necessarily genetic. This is why annual eye exams are so incredibly important to the health of your eyes.
We know that getting tested for diseases like this can be unnerving, but don’t worry, we promise it won’t hurt! These tests look at multiple things inside your eyes, like your visual field and pressure. The tests are quick and painless!
Even if you aren’t noticing symptoms, letting your doctor test you for Glaucoma is the best way to catch it early before it can progress to blindness. There is not a cure yet, but early detection is crucial to keeping your sight! There is a variety of treatment and medication options on the market to slow the progress of this disease.
SCHEDULE YOUR EYE EXAM NOW