As January is National Glaucoma Awareness Month, in this article we would like to review the importance of regular screening for this vision threatening disease. Glaucoma is a category of progressive ocular diseases that damage the eye's optic nerve, which may be a precursor to blindness. If not treated, the disease often initially results in vision loss in the periphery of the visual field and then moves to total blindness. It is the primary cause of avoidable blindness and statistics show that over 60 million individuals worldwide have it.
A significant cause of glaucoma is thought to be an increase in pressure in the eye. As pressure around the eye increases, this causes damage to the optic nerve which is responsible for delivering messages from the eye to the vision centers in the brain. When this pathway is damaged vision is impaired. Regrettably, optic nerve damage can't be reversed.
Glaucoma is especially threatening because unlike other causes of vision impairment, there are no symptoms until vision is already lost.
It is for this reason that glaucoma is described as the "sneak thief of sight." This may leave you wondering: how can one detect an illness which has no obvious symptoms?
Prompt detection of glaucoma is very important to effective management. While glaucoma risk is universal, certain groups are at higher risk than others. Major risk factors for glaucoma may include anyone over 45, individuals having a family history of glaucoma, a predisposition to diabetes, or known eye conditions such as high intraocular pressure.
You can learn more about glaucoma if you speak to an eye doctor. There are a series of diagnostic eye examinations employed to check the beginnings of glaucoma. Particularly if you are 45 or older or have one of the other risk factors named above, make sure to plan for a routine eye exam annually.
Unfortunately for the most part glaucoma cannot be prevented. However the optic nerve damage and loss of vision may be halted by a reliable diagnosis and quick treatment. Don't delay! Contact Lougheed Town Centre Optometry and Optical today, for annual screening for glaucoma.