Glaucoma is a major cause of vision loss worldwide. It affects more than 3 million people in the United States with nearly half being unaware they have the disease. During Glaucoma Awareness Month in January, the American Academy of Ophthalmology is reminding the public that early detection and treatment can help protect your sight.
Glaucoma damages the optic nerve, which transmits visual information from the retina to the brain. Typically, the disease initially has no signs or symptoms. If left untreated, glaucoma can cause irreversible blindness.
The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends that everyone have a comprehensive eye exam at age 40. This exam provides eye doctors 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:
- over age 40;
- who have a family history of glaucoma;
- of African, Asian or Hispanic heritage;
- who have high eye pressure detected during an eye exam;
- who are farsighted or nearsighted;
- who have experienced eye trauma or eye injury;
- whose corneas are thin in the center;
- or who have health problems such as diabetes, migraines, high blood pressure or poor blood
Early detection, diagnosis and treatment are critical to managing glaucoma and preventing vision loss and blindness. Please call your local optometrist to schedule a glaucoma eye exam and testing. If specialty care, treatment or surgery is required, please ask to be referred to one of the physicians at Eyecare Medical Group, 53 Sewall Street, Portland, Maine 04102 at 888-374-2020, visit Eyecare Medical Group, Google+ or facebook.com/eyecaremedicalgroup to schedule an appointment.