As January has been designated National Glaucoma Awareness Month, in this article we are here to emphasize the importance of early diagnosis of this vision threatening disease. Glaucoma is the term for a category of eye diseases that cause damage to the eye's optic nerve, which can cause irreversible blindness. If untreated, the damage often first causes peripheral vision loss and then moves to a complete loss of vision. Glaucoma is the primary cause of avoidable loss of vision and statistics show that over 60 million individuals around the world have the disease.
The leading cause of glaucoma is thought to be elevated pressure in the eye. The elevation in pressure causes damage to the optic nerve which transmits messages from the eye to the brain. In instances where this pathway doesn't work properly, vision is affected. Unfortunately, damage to the optic nerve is typically irreversible.
Glaucoma is especially threatening because distinct from other forms of blindness, there are no indicators that serve as a warning until it may be too late.
This is why glaucoma is described as the "sneak thief of sight." This may leave you wondering: how can one detect an illness which lacks any obvious symptoms?
Prompt diagnosis of glaucoma is the key to effective management. While glaucoma risk is universal, certain populations have a higher risk than others. Major risk factors for glaucoma may include adults over 45 years old, those with a family history of glaucoma, diabetes, or other eye conditions such as myopia, hyperopia, eye injuries or high intraocular pressure.
There are different kinds of glaucoma such as open or close angle glaucomas. The condition usually affects both eyes, although the disease can advance more quickly in one of the eyes.
The best way to detect glaucoma is to contact an optometrist. There are a series of diagnostic eye evaluations employed to assess damage to the ocular nerves caused by glaucoma. Especially if you are 45 or older or know that you are at risk, it's important to schedule a routine eye examination on an annual basis.
It is unfortunate that for the most part glaucoma is not preventable. That being said, the loss of sight caused by damage to the optic nerve can be halted by timely diagnosis and prompt treatment. Don't delay! Contact Dr. Dennis M. Brtva and Associates today, for an annual glaucoma screening.