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Since January has been designated National Glaucoma Awareness Month, in this article we would like to spread the word about the importance of knowing about the threat of this vision threatening disease. Glaucoma is the term for a category of eye disorders that damage the eye's optic nerve, which can lead to irreversible blindness. If untreated, glaucoma often initially results in peripheral vision loss and then moves to a complete loss of vision. Glaucoma is the primary reason for avoidable vision loss and more than 60 million people around the world are afflicted with the disease.
One of the leading sources of glaucoma is known to be increased pressure around the optic nerve referred to as intraocular pressure. As the pressure increases, this causes damage to the optic nerve which transports signals from the eye to the vision centers in the brain. When this system is damaged eyesight is affected. Unfortunately, optic nerve damage is typically permanent.
Glaucoma is particularly threatening because distinct from other causes of vision loss, there are no symptoms that indicate the progression of the condition until it may be too late.
It is due to this that glaucoma has obtained the nickname the "sneak thief of sight." The quandary is: how can one protect oneself against a disease which has no obvious symptoms?
Prompt diagnosis of the disease is crucial to effective treatment. Although everyone may be at risk for glaucoma, specific populations are more at risk than others. Risk factors for glaucoma may include those over 45, individuals having family members who have had glaucoma, individuals with a predisposition towards diabetes, or known eye conditions such as high intraocular pressure.
The best way to detect glaucoma is to speak to your eye doctor. There are a number of diagnostic eye examinations employed to check the beginnings of glaucoma. Especially if you are over 45 or have one of the other risk factors named above, make sure to plan for a routine eye exam at least once a year.
Unfortunately most types of glaucoma are not preventable. However the damage to the optic nerve and deterioration of vision can be slowed by timely diagnosis and prompt treatment. Contact Dr. Ambareen Mohamed O.D. today, for a yearly glaucoma screening.