Family Eye Health & Contact Lens Center

All About Vision – Seeing More Clearly

Sight Unseen: Glaucoma Can Take Sight without Warning

on January 5, 2012

It’s a brand new year, what are you going to do differently? Take better care of yourself? Will you exercise more, eat healthier, or make an effort to see the doctor as often as you should? Finding time in your busy schedule to implement those resolutions often proves challenging.  Don’t underestimate the importance of those doctor visits and more specifically, visits to your eye doctor.

A quick trip to your optometrist may not only be sight saving, but potentially life saving. Optometrists can evaluate the health of your eyes as well as the clarity of vision and they can also detect chronic and systemic diseases such as glaucoma, diabetes and even hypertension.   Glaucoma affects more than three million Americans, but over half of them don’t even know that they have it, according to Prevent Blindness America. Glaucoma begins by attacking  the peripheral vision.  At first, it is possible to compensate by squinting or turning the head to focus better.  Initially, these changes may seem minor, but glaucoma can accelerate quickly; causing eyesight to rapidly and irreversibly deteriorate. Like many diseases, some factors can increase the risk of developing glaucoma, such as age, race or genetics.  Glaucoma usually affects one in 200 people by age 50, but as many as one in 10 people by age 80. The risk of developing glaucoma is much higher among African Americans: four to five times higher. In fact, glaucoma is the leading cause of blindness in African Americans. Not only do African Americans usually develop glaucoma 10 years earlier than Caucasians, they are also six to 15 times more likely to be blinded by the disease.

Glaucoma cannot be prevented, but if diagnosed and treated early, it can be controlled. This reinforces what the National Optometric Association and the AOA already recommend: adults need regular, comprehensive eye exams. Fortunately, Medicare covers annual glaucoma screenings for people considered at heightened risk of developing glaucoma, such as individuals with diabetes, those with a family history of glaucoma, African Americans age 50 and older and Hispanic Americans age 65 and older.

So start off the new year right: set up an appointment with your eye doctor  and maybe hit the gym and grab a salad on your way home.


One response to “Sight Unseen: Glaucoma Can Take Sight without Warning

  1. […] Sight Unseen: Glaucoma Can Take Sight without Warning ( […]

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