January marks a significant month in the health calendar – Glaucoma Awareness Month. At Duchess Hospital, we are dedicated to educating our community about this often-silent eye condition that affects millions worldwide. Let’s shed light on what glaucoma is, its types, risk factors, and the crucial importance of regular eye exams.
What is Glaucoma?
Glaucoma is not just one disease but a group of eye conditions leading to irreversible vision loss through damage to the optic nerve, the vital cable transmitting visual information from the eyes to the brain. It’s a condition that can affect all age groups, though it’s more prevalent in middle-aged and elderly individuals.
Types of Glaucoma
The two primary types of glaucoma are:
Primary Open-Angle Glaucoma (POAG): This common form is characterized by an increase in intraocular pressure (IOP) or pressure inside the eye.
Angle-Closure Glaucoma: This type also involves increased IOP and requires immediate medical attention.
Other forms include normal tension glaucoma, where optic nerve damage occurs despite normal IOP, and secondary glaucoma, resulting from another disease.
The Importance of Regular Eye Exams
Often referred to as the “sneak thief of sight,” glaucoma typically shows no early symptoms. It begins by affecting peripheral vision, often going unnoticed until significant vision is lost. This stealthy progression makes regular comprehensive eye examinations essential, particularly for those at higher risk.
Who is at Risk?
Glaucoma disproportionately affects certain demographics:
- Individuals of African, Asian, and Hispanic descent.
- People over the age of 60.
- Family members of those diagnosed with glaucoma.
- Diabetics and people with severe nearsightedness.
4 Essential Facts about Glaucoma
Irreversible Vision Loss: Glaucoma can lead to permanent vision loss and blindness.
No Early Symptoms: It often has no early warning signs – no pain, discomfort, or blurry vision.
Higher Risk for Certain Groups: Blacks and African Amercians over 40, adults over 60, and those with a family history of glaucoma are at greater risk.
Detection through Eye Exam: A comprehensive dilated eye exam is the only way to diagnose glaucoma.
As we observe Glaucoma Awareness Month, make a resolution for healthier vision. Understand that feeling your best includes seeing your best. If you or a loved one falls into a higher risk category or simply want to ensure your eyes are healthy, we at Duchess Hospital are here to help.
Visit or contact us for an early eye screening with our experienced optometrist. A simple, comprehensive dilated eye exam can make all the difference in protecting your vision and preventing the advancement of glaucoma.
Take the step today – your eyes will thank you!
Schedule your appointment at Duchess Hospital now and take a pivotal step towards a better eye health.