National Glaucoma Awareness Month: Understanding the Eye

By January 26, 2015Archives

Our eyes are an incredible part of our body. By taking in light and focusing it on a membrane called the retina, we can view the world in great detail. It’s a complicated system that has a bunch of little parts that all work together to provide us our vision. That’s why it’s best to maintain proper eye health. If one of those little parts gets damaged it can cause headaches, vision problems, or even blindness.

This month celebrates National Glaucoma Awareness Month. Glaucoma is a type of eye disorder that has no early symptoms, but can lead to permanent blindness. It’s important for older adults to get checked for this disease when they get their regular eye exams.

Glaucoma
The medical term glaucoma is used to describe any number of disorders to the eye that include a buildup of pressure that causes damage to the optic nerve. The optic nerve is one of the more crucial parts to the eye since it helps relay information from the retina to the brain. Without it, we would have no vision.

It’s best to be proactive about glaucoma. The disorder has been coined the “silent thief of vision,” because the damage occurs over a long period of time without symptoms. A lot of people falsely believe that this disorder can be easily diagnosed that includes a whole range of symptoms. However, there are very few symptoms and a human can lose up to 40% of their vision without ever noticing. If this is the case, the damage becomes permanent. Always have your senior loved one checked for glaucoma when they go for their regular eye exam. If diagnosed preventative measures through surgery or medication will be taken.

Types of Glaucoma
This disorder has been categorized into 2 different types:

  • Closed Angle Glaucoma – This type of glaucoma often comes on quickly and is very painful. The loss of vision can be swift, but the pain often leads patients to seek medical help before any major damage takes place.
  • Open Angle Glaucoma – This type of glaucoma can be chronic. It exists without signs or symptoms for a long period of time that results in permanent damage that is unable to be reversed.

As you can see, the duality of both types of glaucoma work separately, but both have their severe drawbacks. On one hand, closed angle glaucoma causes severe pain, but can be treated more quickly resulting in less damage, and on the other hand, open angle glaucoma results in no pain, but can cause a lot of permanent damage due to its undetection.

Your senior loved one should be checked regularly for any type of glaucoma. It is estimated that one out of 10 older adults ages 80 and above have glaucoma. Even though there are few preventative measures to disrupt getting this disease, the damage done by it can be prevented, so go see your eye doctor today!

Image Credit – http://www.alwaystherehealthcare.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/bigstock-Close-up-of-an-optometrist-doi-62496458.jpg

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