January is National Glaucoma Awareness Month
Glaucoma is a leading cause of vision loss and blindness in the United States, but it is also the most preventable. Many people refer to glaucoma as the “sneak thief of sight” because unlike other eye diseases, it has no symptoms in its early stages. That means that many times, once glaucoma is detected it may already be too late.
Raising awareness about the disease can encourage people to learn more and to take necessary steps for early prevention and treatment. So if you’re trying to learn more about glaucoma, here’s everything you need to know about this sight-stealing disease:
- Over 3 million Americans have glaucoma, but half of them don’t even know they have it because of the lack of symptoms. In addition, more than 60 million people worldwide are living with this disease.
- There is currently no cure for glaucoma. Therefore, early detection is crucial to preventing the disease from progressing and causing blindness. Medication and surgery can slow down the process and prevent vision loss from occurring quickly.
- Individuals at a higher risk for glaucoma include people over 60, individuals with a family medical history of the eye disease, diabetics and severely nearsighted individuals. In addition, glaucoma is more prevalent among individuals of African, Asian and Hispanic descent.
- Because glaucoma does not show symptoms in its early stages, an individual can lose up to 40 percent of their vision before noticing the disease. Glaucoma currently accounts for 9-12 percent of all cases of blindness in the United States. That’s why it’s important to get a comprehensive eye exam every 1-2 years for early detection.
- January is National Glaucoma Awareness Month. Learn how you can get involved in your community to raise awareness. Your efforts could possibly save someone’s sight.
When it comes to your vision, it’s never too early to protect it. It’s important for you to get regular eye exams and to talk to your doctor about glaucoma. Don’t have an eye doctor? Contact Straith Hospital and we’ll connect you with one of our physicians to discuss your potential risk for glaucoma.