Why Is Glaucoma Awareness Month Observed?
Are you starting to have issues using your peripheral vision in both eyes? Have you been getting strong headaches and seeing halos around lights?
These are some of the symptoms of glaucoma. January is Glaucoma Awareness Month. Keep reading to learn more about the signs and risk factors of glaucoma, and why Glaucoma Awareness Month is observed!
What is Glaucoma?
Glaucoma is a family of eye diseases that cause damage to the optic nerve. To see clearly, you need to have a healthy optic nerve because it is necessary for good vision.
Glaucoma damages the optic nerve due to the increasing pressure it causes in your eye. Glaucoma is one of the top causes of blindness in adults over the age of 60.
Even though anyone can be diagnosed with glaucoma, it is more common for older adults to receive a glaucoma diagnosis. Glaucoma is often called the secret thief of sight because it doesn’t usually have any warning signs.
Most of the symptoms of glaucoma are so small that it is unnoticeable until vision loss has already occurred. Once glaucoma begins to damage your vision, it is irreversible.
This is why it is very important that you see your eye doctor for regular eye exams. During your eye exam, your eye doctor will measure your eye’s internal pressure.
Measuring your eye’s pressure allows them to check your eyes and see any changes if they are happening. Making an early diagnosis leads to early treatment.
This combination can help slow down or prevent vision loss. Once you’re 60 years old, you need to get annual eye exams.
This is still important even if you have never had vision problems before.
The symptoms of glaucoma depend on the type and how advanced it is.
Acute Angle-Closure Glaucoma:
With this kind of glaucoma, you may have strong headaches, eye pain, nausea, foggy vision, eye redness, and see halos around lights.
In open-angle glaucoma, patients often experience tunnel vision, blind spots in their peripheral vision, or central vision in both eyes.
You need to schedule an appointment with your eye doctor if you have any of these symptoms. If left untreated, glaucoma can cause blindness.
Glaucoma can cause blindness before you even know you have it. Risk factors include the following:
- Being 60 or older
- Developing high interior eye pressure
- Having a family history of glaucoma
- Being Hispanic, Asian, or African American
- Being extremely nearsighted or farsighted
- Having high blood pressure, heart disease, sickle cell anemia, or diabetes
- The center of your corneas are too thin
- Having an eye injury or having specific types of eye surgeries
- Using corticosteroid medications for long periods of time
It is possible to stop or delay blindness. The most important thing you can do is get frequent eye exams and catch any changes. Getting regular exercise is a good way to reduce eye pressure and prevent glaucoma.
If you are prescribed eye drops, use them as prescribed. Finally, when playing sports or using power tools, protect your eyes to prevent injuries.
Are you ready to get an eye exam? Schedule an appointment at Complete EyeCare West in Columbus, OH with one of our talented ophthalmologists!