By Cyn Davis on behalf of the National Eye Health education Program
Every New Year, you make a list of things you will do to stay healthy so you can feel your best. But did you realize that feeling your best includes seeing your best too? This year, add learning about glaucoma to your list. Your eyes will thank you for it.
1. Glaucoma can cause irreversible vision loss and blindness. Glaucoma causes fluid to build up in your eye, creating pressure that can damage the optic nerve, which transfers visual images to your brain. But you can save your vision with early detection and treatment.
2. There are no early symptoms. Glaucoma often has no early warning signs. No pain, no discomfort, no blurry vision. Only advanced glaucoma will affect your vision. Don’t wait for symptoms to visit your eye doctor.
3. In the United States, half the people who have glaucoma don’t know they do. Nearly 3 million Americans have glaucoma. Lack of awareness and the absence of symptoms are preventing people from detecting the disease early.
4. Some people are at higher risk than others. African Americans over 40, adults over 60 – especially Hispanics/Latinos, and people with a family history of glaucoma are at higher risk, making early detection especially important. Are you at higher risk? Talk to your family about glaucoma.
5. There is only one way to know if you have glaucoma – getting a comprehensive dilated eye exam. During the exam, an eye care professional places drops in your eyes to widen the pupils and looks for signs of the disease in the optic nerve.
Now that you’ve got the facts about glaucoma, make a resolution for healthier vision. Schedule a comprehensive dilated eye exam today. And encourage your friends and loved ones to do the same.
To learn more about glaucoma, visit nei.nih.gov/glaucoma.