Why Is Glaucoma Awareness Important?
About 120,000 people in the United States have lost their vision because of glaucoma. Fortunately, the National Eye Institute (NEI) reminds us that January is Glaucoma Awareness Month. If you’re unsure why people need to observe and spread information about this condition, read on to find out:
Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of vision loss and irreversible blindness in the country. The World Glaucoma Association states that blindness is the third most feared health problem in the U.S. It follows just after cancer and cardiac attacks. According to NEI, the number of people in the U.S. with this condition is projected to increase by more than double. It’s estimated to affect nearly three to about six million people from 2010 to 2050.
Glaucoma is an eye disease characterized by gradual damage to the optic nerve. As you know, this part of your eye carries visual information to your brain. Sadly, half of the patients don’t realize they have developed the condition. This is because, in most cases, glaucoma has no symptoms. That’s why glaucoma is called the sneak thief of sight. You will not know about the problem until most of your visual field is already lost. Since the symptoms are extremely difficult to spot, you need to visit your eye doctor as soon as you experience recurrent headaches, loss of peripheral vision, and the appearance of rainbow-colored circles around bright lights.
The key to prevent glaucoma is early detection and appropriate intervention. Right now, the best form of diagnosis is by undergoing regular comprehensive eye examinations. Timely diagnosis and careful, continuous treatment can help maintain vision in many patients. If you’re among those who have an increased risk, you need to be examined at least annually once you reach the age of 35. Risk factors include age, a family history of glaucoma, and certain medical conditions, among others.
How to Help Raise Awareness
There are many steps you can take to spread information about glaucoma. These include talking to your friends and family members about the condition. If you’ve been diagnosed with glaucoma, don’t keep it a secret and let your loved ones know. Also, try getting involved in your local community. Join fundraising campaigns, group discussions, and online information sessions. It’s also highly recommended to use your social media to educate people about glaucoma. You can follow institutions like the Glaucoma Research Foundation for regular updates. You can share posts and publications regarding news, research, treatments, and many more.
One of the primary objectives of observing Glaucoma Awareness Month is to remind people how crucial regular eye exams are. Eye doctors generally advise getting tested every couple of years. But the frequency of visits should increase as you get older and depending on your risk factors. By continually monitoring your eye and vision health, you let potential sight-threatening conditions be detected early on. This is especially crucial with glaucoma, which doesn’t always have symptoms.
Find out more about Glaucoma and how to prevent it, contact Maple Eye and Laser Center in White Plains or Manhattan, New York at (914) 948-5157.