With the new year, it’s safe to say that most people may be making plans to join a gym, adopt a new diet, or take up a new hobby. But what many people may not be thinking about when it comes to making New Year’s resolutions is their eyesight. Did you know that January is National Glaucoma Awareness Month? Glaucoma is a group of diseases that gradually causes vision loss by damaging the optic nerve in the eye. It is the second leading cause of blindness, according to the World Health Organization, and typically does not present any symptoms until vision is already lost. While there is no known cure for glaucoma, prevention is possible through regular screenings and early diagnosis.
At USC Roski Eye Institute, our glaucoma specialists are determined to help spread the word about how important it is to have your eyes checked on a regular basis to preserve your eyesight. This January, join us in raising awareness about how you and your loved ones can prevent glaucoma.
What is Glaucoma?
There are several types of glaucoma, but the most common is called primary open-angle glaucoma. This type of the disease occurs when the trabecular meshwork, which helps drain the clear fluid that maintains constant eye pressure, no longer functions correctly. As the fluid becomes trapped in the eye, it begins to build up and raises the eye pressure to a point where the optic nerve at the back of the eye is damaged.
In most cases, open-angle glaucoma does not cause any symptoms during the earliest stages, however, as the optic nerve becomes damaged, blank spots begin to appear and will become bigger over time until total blindness.
The optic nerve can be damaged at different eye pressures, depending on the patient. For example, some people suffer optic nerve damage and vision loss even through their eye pressure is at a “normal” level. This type of glaucoma is called normal-tension or low-tension glaucoma. It is very important to have your eyes screened on a regular basis by a skilled ophthalmologist to ensure that your sight is monitored for the various types of glaucoma.
What You Can Do About Glaucoma
According to the National Eye Institute, nearly 4.2 million people are projected to suffer vision loss due to glaucoma by 2030. However, while many people may have glaucoma without showing any signs or symptoms, it is possible to prevent the condition from worsening and preserve existing eyesight with early treatment. To help ensure that you and your loved ones are not part of the 4.2 million sufferers, remember the following:
Everyone is at risk of developing glaucoma. Schedule a simple eye exam with USC Roski Eye Institute today!
Some individuals are more at risk for glaucoma than others. Do not wait to schedule an eye exam for yourself or a loved one with one or more of the following risk factors:
- Age 60 or older
- Severely near-sighted
- African, Asian, or Hispanic descent
- Family history of glaucoma
Early detection is crucial. Be proactive about your eye health and discuss your options with your ophthalmologist. Ask to have a glaucoma test included in each exam and schedule regular eye exams based on your doctor’s recommendation. Lastly, let your loved ones know about the dangers of glaucoma and how they can take steps to keep their vision healthy and strong for as long as possible.
Comprehensive Eye Care at USC Roski Eye Institute
The board-certified ophthalmologists at the USC Roski Eye Institute are highly experienced at diagnosing and treating vision loss and can perform the most advanced tests and treatments available. Please do not hesitate to get in touch with us by completing our online contact form or simply calling (323) 745-2223. We are located in Los Angeles, Arcadia, Beverly Hills, and Pasadena.
For more information about the USC Roski Eye Institute or to support the Institute by making a tax-deductible gift, please contact Rebecca Melville, senior director of development, at 323.442.5396 or via email at Rebecca.Melville@med.usc.edu.
Next, read Diabetes and the Eye