Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of vision loss, affecting about 3 million people in the United States. Because there are no symptoms early on, about half of people with the disease don’t know they have it. Once vision is lost to glaucoma, it can’t be regained. During Glaucoma Awareness Month in January, Modern Optometry joins the American Academy of Ophthalmology in reminding the public that early detection and treatment, and some lifestyle choices can help protect your sight.
Glaucoma damages the optic nerve, which transmits visual information from the retina to the brain. Typically, the disease progresses slowly, gradually destroying peripheral vision. Because people are unaware of early peripheral vision loss, a patient can lose most of it before they even know they have glaucoma.
This is why we recommend that everyone have a comprehensive eye exam every year. This exam provides our doctor an opportunity to carefully examine the eye, including the optic nerve, for signs of damage and other possible problems that may affect vision. Individuals at greater risk for developing glaucoma include people: