Glaucoma. It’s called the “sneak thief of sight” because it can strike without symptoms and lead to permanent blindness.
The good news is that blindness from the disease is preventable. January is Glaucoma Awareness Month—a time to understand the disease and take important steps to guard yourself from its serious effects. Although there is no cure for glaucoma, if detected early, it can be treated with medication or surgery to slow down or prevent further vision loss.
According to the Glaucoma Research Foundation (GRF), as much as 40 percent of a person’s vision can be lost without noticing—that’s why regular eye exams from a licensed optometrist are key. The GRF says these five tests are part of a thorough comprehensive glaucoma exam:
|The inner eye pressure||Tonometry|
|The shape and color of the optic nerve||Ophthalmoscopy (dilated eye exam)|
|The complete field of vision||Perimetry (visual field test)|
|The angle in the eye where the iris meets the cornea||Gonioscopy|
|Thickness of the cornea||Pachymetry|
Anyone can get glaucoma, but there are those who are at higher risk:
- African Americans over age 40
- Everyone over age 60, especially Hispanics/Latinos
- People with a family history of glaucoma
You can learn more about glaucoma by visiting the GRF’s website at www.glaucoma.org and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at www.cdc.gov/features/glaucoma-awareness/index.html. To check the license and license status of an optometrist, visit the Board of Optometry’s website at www.optometry.ca.gov.