Since this month is National Glaucoma Awareness Month, this post is intended to spread the word about the importance of regular screening for this vision threatening disease. Glaucoma is a class of eye diseases that cause damage to the eye's optic nerve, which may cause loss of central vision and eventual blindness. If not treated, the disease often initially results in vision loss in the periphery of the visual field and then moves to a complete loss of vision. Glaucoma is thought to be the number one reason for avoidable loss of vision and according to estimates, over sixty million individuals worldwide suffer from the vision threatening condition.
One of the main causes of glaucoma is thought to be increased pressure around the optic nerve called intraocular pressure. The elevation in pressure causes damage to the optic nerve which transports signals to the brain. In instances where this system doesn't work normally, vision is affected. Regrettably, optic nerve damage is usually irreversible.
Glaucoma is especially dangerous because unlike other forms of vision impairment, it is asymptomatic until it may be too late.
It is for this reason that glaucoma has obtained the nickname the "sneak thief of sight." The question is: how can a patient safeguard against a condition which lacks any tell-tale symptoms?
Early diagnosis of glaucoma is necessary for successful treatment. Although everyone may be at risk for glaucoma, specific populations are more at risk than others. Risk factors for glaucoma can include anyone over 45 years of age, individuals having a family history of glaucoma, individuals with diabetes, or other eye conditions such as myopia, hyperopia, eye injuries or elevated intraocular pressure.
There are several different kinds of glaucoma such as open or close angle glaucomas. Both eyes are usually affected, although the disease can progress more rapidly in one eye than in the other.
To learn more about glaucoma speak to your optometrist. There are a number of diagnostic eye evaluations employed to check intraocular pressure and the risk of glaucoma. Particularly if you are 45 or older or have one of the other risk factors named above, it's important to schedule a routine eye examination on a yearly basis.
The truth is that most forms of glaucoma cannot be prevented. However the loss of sight caused by damage to the optic nerve may be prevented by early diagnosis and prompt treatment. Don't delay! Contact Berryessa Optometry now, for an annual screening for glaucoma.