January is Glaucoma Awareness Month

Wednesday, January 6th, 2021, 3:35 pm

January is Glaucoma Awareness Month. Glaucoma is a leading cause of vision loss and blindness in the United States. Many people don’t know that glaucoma has no symptoms in its early stages.

The only way to find out if you have glaucoma is to get a comprehensive dilated eye exam. There’s no cure for glaucoma, but early treatment can often stop the damage and protect your vision.

Anyone can get glaucoma, but those at higher risk include:

  • African Americans over age 40
  • Everyone over age 60, especially Hispanics/Latinos
  • People with a family history of the disease

At first, glaucoma doesn’t usually have any symptoms. That’s why half of people with glaucoma don’t even know they have it.

Over time, you may slowly lose vision, usually starting with your side (peripheral) vision — especially the part of your vision that’s closest to your nose. Because it happens so slowly, many people can’t tell that their vision is changing, especially at first.

But as the disease gets worse, you may start to notice that you can’t see things off to the side anymore. Without treatment, glaucoma can eventually cause blindness.

Talk with your doctor about your risk for glaucoma, and ask how often you need to get checked.

Source: https://www.nei.nih.gov/learn-about-eye-health/eye-conditions-and-diseases/glaucoma

For more information, check out the National Eye Institute's Glaucoma handout.

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Category: Eye health, glaucoma, ophthalmology