As this month has been designated National Glaucoma Awareness Month, in this article we would like to stress the importance of early diagnosis of glaucoma. Glaucoma is the term for a group of eye diseases that cause damage to the optic nerve, which may be a precursor to irreversible blindness. When uncontrolled, glaucoma often first causes peripheral vision loss until it eventually results in total blindness. It is considered to be the leading cause of avoidable vision loss and statistics show that over 60 million individuals worldwide have it.
A contributing source of glaucoma is considered to be elevated pressure in the eye referred to as intraocular pressure. The increase in pressure around the eye damages the optic nerve which transmits signals to the brain. When this system is damaged vision is impaired. Unfortunately, damage to the optic nerve can't be corrected.
The most threatening characteristic of glaucoma is that unlike other forms of blindness, there are no signs that indicate the progression of the condition until vision is already lost.
It is due to this that glaucoma is described as the "sneak thief of sight." This may leave you asking is it possible to diagnose a condition which is asymptomatic?
Prompt detection of glaucoma is required for successful treatment. Although everyone may be at risk for glaucoma, certain groups are at higher risk than others. Serious risk factors for glaucoma can include those over 45, anyone having family members who have had glaucoma, diabetes, or known eye conditions such as elevated intraocular pressure.
You can learn more about glaucoma if you speak to your optometrist. There are several diagnostic eye examinations relied on by doctors to assess damage to the ocular nerves caused by glaucoma. Especially if you are 45 or older or know that you are at risk, you should schedule a comprehensive eye examination annually.
It is unfortunate that for the most part glaucoma cannot be prevented. Nevertheless the deterioration of sight can be stopped by early diagnosis and quick treatment. Contact Temecula Valley Optometry now, for your annual glaucoma screening.