January is National Glaucoma Awareness Month. This month we strive to bring awareness to glaucoma and encourage people to seek early diagnosis and treatment.

Glaucoma is an eye disease that often causes loss of vision and even blindness. Glaucoma often presents itself in older individuals, and there are no real symptoms besides loss of peripheral vision. Unfortunately, current medical technology does not possess a cure for this illness, so early diagnosis is vital.

Since there are few symptoms related to glaucoma other than vision loss, many people do not realize they have it. However, glaucoma can be diagnosed from a thorough dilated eye exam, which is recommended for individuals over the age of 60 and those with a history of glaucoma in their family.

Often, but not always, glaucoma can be characterized by high-pressure levels in the eye. If diagnosed with glaucoma, some procedures and medications can reduce eye pressure. Prescription medications, laser procedures, and surgeries are the most common alternatives to alleviating eye pressure.

Though there is no cure for glaucoma, medical treatment can help prevent further damage to the optic nerve. Preexisting vision loss can’t be regained but rest assured there are medications and treatments to help protect against additional vision loss.

If you are over the age of 60 or have high eye pressure, you might consider asking for a dilated eye exam at your next optometry appointment. Likewise, if there is a history of glaucoma in your family, you could potentially be at higher risk of the disease. If you do not know if there is a history of glaucoma in your family, obtaining that information before your next eye appointment could be beneficial.

As always, Stones River Regional IPA is committed to helping you find talented, trustworthy medical professionals. Visit this link to browse our full directory of optometrists and vision specialists: https://stonesriveripa.com.

Sources: https://www.nei.nih.gov/learn-about-eye-health/eye-conditions-and-diseases/glaucoma