Warning Signs of Glaucoma

By January 13, 2016Archives

January is Glaucoma Awareness Month. Given the fact that one can actually suffer from glaucoma without signs or symptoms, the awareness month provides a good opportunity to become more familiar with the disease. Below are some telling facts, sourced from the Glaucoma Research Foundation.

  • It is estimated that over 3 million Americans have glaucoma but only half of those know they have it.
  • Glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness in the world, according to the World Health Organization.
  • Other high-risk groups include people over 60, family members of those already diagnosed, diabetics, people with hypertension or extremely low blood pressure, those who take certain steroid medications, such as prednisone, have had an eye injury in the past or are severely nearsighted.
  • As with many other diseases, awareness needs to increase as education can lead to more people having regular eye exams, thereby providing the opportunity for early detection. National studies show that there is still a lack of awareness and some confusion about Glaucoma.

  • 20 percent of people knew that glaucoma was related to elevated pressure within the eye.
    Most of them mistakenly thought people could tell if they had glaucoma due to symptoms, or that it was easily cured, or that it did not lead to blindness.
  • 50 percent had heard of glaucoma but weren’t sure what it was.
  • 30 percent had never heard of glaucoma.
  • The most common form of the disease, called open-angle glaucoma, has virtually no symptoms and no pain. Vision loss begins very gradually at the side, or peripheral vision. The person who is beginning to lose peripheral vision may unconsciously turn his or her head to the side, not noticing any loss of sight until a significant portion is lost.

    There is no cure for Glaucoma but it can be treated. Vision lost to Glaucoma cannot be regained but it can be halted with medication and/or surgery.

    Even though Glaucoma exhibits no definitive symptoms, people experiencing the following vision impairments should see their optometrist immediately.

  • Loss of peripheral or side vision as mentioned previously
  • Seeing rainbow-colored circles around lights or are unusually sensitive to light
  • Sudden vision loss
  • Redness in the eye, sometimes accompanied by pain
  • Cloudy-looking cornea
  • Pain in the eye and in the head
  • Narrowing of vision
  • The best way to protect vision from Glaucoma is to get tested. If the disease is detected, treatment can begin immediately.Since open-angle glaucoma is a chronic condition, it must be monitored for life. The Glaucoma Research Group recommends getting a complete eye exam every one to two years.

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