As January is National Glaucoma Awareness Month, this post is intended to spread the word about the importance of recognizing the indications of this vision threatening disease. Glaucoma is a class of eye disorders that damage the eye's optic nerve, which can cause irreversible blindness. If not treated, the damage often initially shows up as vision loss in the periphery of the field of vision and then moves to a complete loss of vision. It is thought to be the primary cause of avoidable loss of vision and over sixty million people around the world are afflicted with the vision threatening condition.
A contributing cause of glaucoma is considered to be increased pressure around the optic nerve. As the pressure increases, this causes damage to the optic nerve which delivers messages from the eye to the brain. When this pathway doesn't function normally, vision is affected. Regrettably, optic nerve damage can't be fixed.
Glaucoma is especially dangerous because unlike other forms of vision loss, there are no symptoms that indicate the progression of the condition until it may be too late.
This is why glaucoma is described as the "sneak thief of sight." This may leave you asking: how does one detect a disease which is asymptomatic?
Prompt diagnosis of glaucoma is essential for effective management. While everyone may be at risk for glaucoma, specific populations are at higher risk than others. Risk factors for glaucoma can include adults over 45, individuals having family members who have had glaucoma, a predisposition to diabetes, or known eye conditions such as elevated intraocular pressure.
The best way to detect glaucoma is to speak to your eye doctor. There are a number of diagnostic eye examinations relied on by doctors to measure 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 book a routine eye exam annually.
The fact is most forms of glaucoma are not preventable. That being said, the optic nerve damage and loss of vision may be halted by a reliable diagnosis and treatment. Contact Tucson Family Eye Care today, for an annual glaucoma screening.