It’s Glaucoma Awareness Month. Are you at risk?
About 4 million Americans currently have glaucoma, a leading cause of blindness. Yet, only about half of them realize this. Glaucoma often has no symptoms and you may suddenly develop severe vision loss without knowing why. Although there is no cure for glaucoma, early detection and treatment are critical in the process of preventing blindness.
What is glaucoma?
Glaucoma is a gradual eye disease caused by a rise in fluid pressure inside the eye that damages the optic nerve. Once damaged, the nerve cannot relay images from the eye to the brain, resulting in vision loss and even total blindness.
Although glaucoma symptoms are uncommon, some cases show warning signs such as:
- Loss of peripheral vision
- Eye pain
- Blurred vision
- Frequent red eye
Are you at risk?
Glaucoma can affect anyone, from newborns to seniors. However, it’s more prevalent after age 45. Other risk factors that increase your chances of developing glaucoma include:
- Genetics (it’s hereditary)
- Ethnicity (more common in African Americans, Hispanics and Asians)
- Health risks (glaucoma is linked to certain health conditions)
If at risk…
- Get an eye exam on a regular basis
- Take all medications exactly as prescribed
- Eat a healthy diet
- Exercise on a regular basis (with your doctor’s approval, of course)