Glaucoma, also known as the “silent vision killer” has already affected over 3 million Americans and the number has been projected to reach 4.2 million by 2030. This marks a stark 58 percent increase. The bad thing about this particular eye disease is that it strikes without knowledge of the patient. While there are no warning symptoms, if the vision is lost, it is permanent. Glaucoma, though, is definitely preventable. In fact, it is the leading cause of blindness that can be prevented. Of the total number of people affected by glaucoma, 50 percent didn’t even know that they had it. As per the WHO, about 4.5 million people across the world are blind because of glaucoma.
Therefore, increasing awareness about glaucoma and getting people to get their eyes checked has become an important action point for the World Health Organization and eye experts around the world. January was thus declared the “Glaucoma Awareness Month”. Although this is an action point that should be taken care of all through the year, January sees a more focused effort on the part of doctors and eye experts around the world educating patients about glaucoma. Early eye check-ups can help in identifying cases of glaucoma and the disease can be treated with a higher chance of success.
What is glaucoma?
Glaucoma is an eye disease that can steal sight out of the blue. Patients might not even be aware of the fact that they have glaucoma. Although it mainly affects the middle-aged and elderly, it is a disease that can affect people of all ages. Loss of sight results due to a damaged optic nerve, the nerve that is responsible for transmitting images that we see, to the brain.
Glaucoma cannot be cured but it can most certainly be prevented. With proper medication and surgery, the disease can be slowed from resulting in further loss of vision. The treatment depends on the type of glaucoma that has affected the eyes. Therefore, an early detection can help in slowing the disease down.
The thing with glaucoma is that it does not present any significant symptoms. Vision loss starts with peripheral vision, and it is so subtle that it is not noticeable by patients. With regular eye checkups, you can keep a tab on glaucoma and it can be treated immediately if it is diagnosed. Michigan residents, get your eyes checked this Glaucoma Awareness Month and keep your eyes safe and healthy.