The Sneak Thief of Sight
January is National Glaucoma Awareness Month. Currently, 2.7 million people in the United States over age 40 have glaucoma. The National Eye Institute projects this number will reach 4.2 million by 2030, a 58 percent increase. This, combined with our aging population, could result in an epidemic of blindness if we don’t raise awareness about glaucoma and the importance of regular eye examinations to preserve vision.
Glaucoma gradually steals sight without symptoms or warning, and is commonly known as “the sneak thief of sight.” As much as 40 percent of vision can be lost without a person noticing, and once vision is lost, it’s permanent.
Although the most common forms of glaucoma primarily affect the middle-aged and the elderly, it can affect people of all ages. Vision loss is caused by damage to the optic nerve, which is responsible for carrying images from the eye to the brain.
There is no cure for glaucoma…yet. However, medication or surgery can slow or prevent further vision loss. The appropriate treatment depends upon the type of glaucoma, among other factors. Early detection is vital to stopping the progress of the disease, so make sure to get regular eye examinations. To learn more, visit www.glaucoma.org.