January is National Glaucoma Awareness Month, an important time to spread the word about this sight-stealing disease
What is Glaucoma?
Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases that gradually steal sight without warning. Vision loss is caused by damage to the optic nerve. This nerve acts like an electric cable with over a million wires. It is responsible for carrying images from the eye to the brain.
Currently, more than 3 million people in the United States have glaucoma. The National Eye Institute projects this number will reach nearly 4.2 million by 2030, with a 58% increase. Glaucoma is called “the sneak thief of sight” since there are no symptoms and once vision is lost, it’s permanent. As much as 40% of vision can be lost without a person noticing.
Glaucoma is the leading cause of irreversible blindness. Moreover, among African American and Latino populations, glaucoma is most prevalent. Glaucoma is 6 to 8 times more common in African Americans than Caucasians.
The best way to protect your sight from glaucoma is to get a comprehensive eye examination. Then, if you have glaucoma, treatment can begin immediately.
Risk Factors
Those at higher risk include people of African, Asian, and Hispanic descent. Other high-risk groups include: people over 60, family members of those already diagnosed, diabetics, and people who are severely nearsighted.
To learn more, visit the National Eye Institute