Our society tends to categorize diseases by age, and glaucoma is one that we deem an issue only our grandparents face. Unfortunately, according to the National Eye Institute, “glaucoma is the leading cause of vision loss, and blindness in the United States,” in which three million people under the age of forty have glaucoma unbeknownst to them, due to the early stages producing little to no symptoms.
Forty, you say? Now that we have your attention let’s talk about what glaucoma is.
- Glaucoma is a disease that damages the optic nerve and affects either one or both eyes.
- Optic nerve damage is caused by increased pressure from fluid built up inside the eye.
- Pressure damage varies from person to person, affecting the peripheral (or side) vision, narrowing the field of vision. Left untreated, glaucoma can cause total vision loss.
Is glaucoma treatable? Yes!
- Early detection is key through comprehensive dilated eye exams.
Who gets glaucoma? Anyone is susceptible, but The National Eye Institute (NEI) and its education initiative, The Health Education Program (NEHEP) suggest the following groups are at high risk:
- African Americans age 40 and over.
- Everyone over age 60, especially Hispanics/Latinos.
- People with a family history of the disease.
January is National Glaucoma Awareness Month, so the new year is a great way to take charge of your total health! Schedule your routine eye exam by a certified eye health specialist because glaucoma is not just your grandparent’s disease.
To schedule your eye exam, call our office today at 734-422-5855.
~Dr. Marvin Levine and the LECC Team