January is National Glaucoma Awareness Month, an important time to spread the word about this sight-stealing disease.
Glaucoma is called “the sneak thief of sight” since there are no symptoms and once vision is lost, it’s permanent. As much as 40% of vision can be lost without a person noticing. Although the most common forms primarily affect the middle-aged and the elderly, glaucoma can affect people of all ages.
Vision loss from glaucoma is caused by damage to the optic nerve. This nerve acts like an electric cable with over a million wires. It is responsible for carrying images from the eye to the brain. Vision loss begins with peripheral or side vision, so if you have glaucoma, you may not notice anything until significant vision is lost.
There is no cure for the disease yet. However, medication or surgery can slow or prevent further vision loss. The appropriate treatment depends upon the type of glaucoma, among other factors. Early detection is vital to stopping the progress of the disease.
The best way to protect your sight from glaucoma is to get a comprehensive eye examination. Then, if you have glaucoma, treatment can begin immediately.
Learn more about glaucoma, its symptoms and treatment at www.glaucoma.org.