To observe Blindness Awareness month, Central Florida Eye Specialists wants to educate our patients on one disease condition that is the leading cause of vision loss. Glaucoma affects about 3 million people in the United States, and it is the second leading cause of blindness worldwide.1 Half of the people with Glaucoma do not know they have it. Get a healthy start TODAY by learning about Glaucoma and taking steps to reduce your vision loss!
Glaucoma Risk Factors
- People over the age of 40, those who are severely nearsighted, and those who have a family history of Glaucoma.
- People with diabetes are 2 times more likely to get Glaucoma than people without diabetes.2
- African Americans are 6 to 8 times more likely to get Glaucoma than white Americans. Blindness from Glaucoma is 6 to 8 times more common in African Americans than white Americans.2
- Asians are at an increased risk for the less common types of Glaucoma: angle-closure glaucoma and normal-tension glaucoma.2
- Hispanic Americans face an increased risk compared to African Americans, but the disease may also progress faster as they age, compared with other ethnic groups.3
According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, Glaucoma is a group of diseases that damages the eye’s optic nerve. The optic nerve transmits visual information to the brain, allowing us to see. Glaucoma often progresses slowly, affecting just peripheral or side vision; people with Glaucoma can lose most of their vision before experiencing any symptoms. Central vision, the vision used to read, drive, or watch TV, is unaffected until the disease is advanced.
The Importance of Early Diagnosis
- A comprehensive dilated eye exam is essential to catch Glaucoma early and start treatment, especially among those at higher risk for Glaucoma, which is vital.
- When caught early, Glaucoma can be treated with eye drops or laser treatment. In advanced cases, surgery may be required to slow the vision loss and prevent further damage.
- Even if you are not in a high-risk group, getting a comprehensive dilated eye exam by the age of 40 can help catch Glaucoma and other eye diseases early.
- Open-angle Glaucoma does not have symptoms and is hereditary, so talk to your family members about their vision health to help protect your eyes—and theirs.
- Maintaining a healthy weight, controlling your blood pressure, being physically active, and avoid smoking will also help you avoid vision loss from Glaucoma.