Its estimated that about four million people in the United States have glaucoma, a group of eye diseases that damage the optic nerve and silently destroy eyesight. Nearly half of those with glaucoma are not even aware that they have it. So what about you? The number of cases that lose vision is unfortunate considering there are some high technology offices like Facchiano & Associates who maintain eye care offices with technology that can detect early signs of glaucoma long before that damage threatens vision. You owe it to yourself to find out your relative risk of lossing vision to glaucoma by getting a comprehensive dilated eye exam that includes having drops put in your eye and if the eye doctor orders extra diagnostics tests, an OCT optic nerve scan and threashold visual fields. With its painless and gradual loss of vision, glaucoma may have no early warning signs, but it can be detected during a comprehensive dilated eye exam.
Paul A. Sieving, M.D., Ph.D., director of the National Eye Institute (NEI), one of the National Institutes of Health, said, “NEI-funded research has shown that treatment during the early stages of glaucoma can control the disease and prevent future vision loss and blindness. This is why NEI encourages people at higher risk for glaucoma to get a comprehensive dilated eye exam every one to two years.”
Anyone can develop glaucoma, but those at higher risk for developing the disease include:
African Americans over age 40
Everyone over age 60, especially Mexican Americans
People with a family history of the disease
During a comprehensive dilated eye exam, an eye care professional can see inside the eye to detect signs of glaucoma, such as subtle changes to the optic nerve, before any symptoms appear. This allows the eye care professional to determine if you have glaucoma or are at risk for it, to monitor your condition, to treat glaucoma as early as possible, and to look for other vision problems. Once symptoms appear, it may be too late to prevent vision loss and the progression to blindness.
If glaucoma is detected early, treatments such as eye drops or surgery can slow or stop vision loss. High pressure inside the eye, which may be associated with glaucoma, does not by itself mean that you have glaucoma. Only a comprehensive dilated eye exam and evaluation of the optic nerve by an eye care professional can tell you that.
If you know someone at risk for glaucoma, let them know you care – schedule an eye exam with your eye care professional today.
Tto your eye health,
Dr Vince Facchiano