Glaucoma affects approximately 3 million people in our country. According to research, half of those who are gradually losing their eyesight are unaware of what is happening. It has been estimated that about 40% of one’s vision could be lost before he or she notices. The thing about glaucoma is that, once you lose any amount of vision, you do not get it back. These are some of the reasons that this condition is referred to as the “sneaky thief of sight.”
Glaucoma: What is it?
There are various forms of glaucoma. The term is used to describe a group of diseases that affect the overall health of the optic nerve. This nerve takes images from the eye and, via thousands and thousands of tiny “wires,” transmits those images to the brain. It is a complex and very delicate structure that requires early detection of damage to halt the progression of vision loss.
What’s your Risk?
The whole point of glaucoma awareness month is to offer information to anyone who may be affected by this condition – and that is everyone. While people of all ages have a small risk, there are certain people who should be more watchful over their eye health. These include:
- Older adults. Studies say that glaucoma risk increase six-fold after the age of 60.
- African Americans have a six to eight-times higher risk for glaucoma.
- Individuals of Asian descent seem to be at a higher risk for specific types of glaucoma, such as normal-tension glaucoma and closed-angle glaucoma.
- Family history is an important risk that should not be overlooked, as there is a substantial increase in cases with genetic links.
- Open-angle glaucoma could result from an injury to the eye, either immediately or years after the initial damage.
Glaucoma can steal your eyesight, but that does not have to be a guarantee. With early intervention and ongoing care, it is possible to manage eye health and preserve vision. Learn more about glaucoma, and call us in Alliance, North Canton, or Canfield to schedule your eye exam.