January is Glaucoma Awareness Month

Glaucoma is the leading cause of permanent blindness worldwide. It is known as “The Silent Thief of Sight” because it often progresses slowly without the patient becoming aware of their sight loss until late in the disease.

The best way to determine if you have glaucoma, or if you are at risk for glaucoma, is to visit your eye care professional. Your eye doctor will be able to assess your risk for glaucoma by performing a thorough medical history as well as an exam of your eye health. This exam is painless and does not result in any long-term compromise to your vision. Your eye doctor will measure your eye pressure otherwise known as your intraocular pressure (IOP). This is done by instilling some eyedrops which serve to numb the surface of the eye. Once these drops are instilled, the doctor can then accurately check your eye pressure. In addition, to measure the eye pressure, your eye doctor will test several other aspects of your eye health including the assessment of your vision, and your visual field. To complement these measurements, your eye doctor will also take photographs and high resolution “scans” of the optic nerve. Together, your eye pressure, your visual function, and your eye and optic nerve scans will serve to help the doctor determine if you are at risk for glaucoma or if you have early signs of glaucoma.

Early detection is critical because once sight is lost to glaucoma it cannot be brought back. Over half of the patients with glaucoma in the United States do not know that they have the disease. Thus, in order to determine your risk, make an appointment with your eye care professional today and maintain your annual eye exams.

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