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Glaucoma is a highly misunderstood condition. Often, many people don’t realize they have it or how severe their disease is. That’s probably one reason why glaucoma is still one of the leading causes of blindness in the United States. January is glaucoma awareness month. Here’s why educating people about this eye problem matters:
The most common type of glaucoma, known as open-angle glaucoma, has no apparent symptoms. Patients don’t usually experience pain despite the increased eye pressure. If left untreated, patients diagnosed with this condition will gradually lose their peripheral or side vision. Sadly, more than three million people in the United States have glaucoma, and this number continues to rise. Only half of those people are aware they have the condition.
More than 120,000 Americans are blind because of this silent thief of sight. Glaucoma accounts for about nine to 12 percent of all cases of vision loss. Observing the event helps glaucoma patients cope, as it gives them the platform to share their stories and raise awareness.
The primary objective of this month is to educate and keep people informed about glaucoma. Everyone is at risk of this condition, from infants to the elderly. It’s important to emphasize that not everyone is aware of the dangers and how easily they can be affected. Worse, there’s no cure yet for glaucoma. You can no longer reverse the damage once you’ve already lost your vision. What medication or surgery can do is only possibly stop any further vision loss. Glaucoma is a progressive condition. It means that your eye doctor has to monitor it for life. Through the campaign, eye care organizations can stress how early detection and intervention are crucial in preserving your vision. They can also address the associated risks and common misconceptions about glaucoma. Furthermore, it’s a chance for these groups to provide treatment tips, news, updates, and information about glaucoma research.
Glaucoma has been found to be most common in adults aged over 60 and people with a family history of the condition. Research also suggests that African Americans are six or eight times more likely to develop glaucoma than Caucasians. Other risk factors include severe myopia, diabetes, and previous eye injuries. Steroid users and patients with a history of severe anemia are also at a higher risk.
As mentioned earlier, glaucoma doesn’t always show symptoms during its early stages. Nevertheless, there are some warning signs you need to watch out for. People with open-angle glaucoma generally don’t experience any symptoms. But as the disease becomes worse, blind spots eventually develop in their side vision.
For those who suffer from angle-closure glaucoma, symptoms don’t usually surface until there’s an attack. Early signs may include eye pain, mild headaches, seeing rainbows or halos, and blurred vision. Other symptoms of an attack include eye redness, nausea, and vomiting. You should visit your eye doctor as soon as you observe these symptoms.
Learn more about glaucoma prevention & treatments, contact Primary Eye Care in Tupelo, Mississippi at (662) 200-9842 to request an appointment.