January is Glaucoma Awareness Month

Photo Credit: National Eye Institute (NEI)

Nearly 3 million Americans have glaucoma and half of them don’t know it.

As much as 40% of vision can be lost without a person noticing.

Our eyes are made of fluid, delicate tissues and nerves.  If clear eye fluid drains too slowly this can place pressure on the optic nerve (the part of the eye that sends electrical impulses for sight to the brain) and cause glaucoma.

Although rare in children, anyone can get glaucoma, particularly people over 60, people of Hispanic, African and Asian descent and steroid users.

Additionally, people who have experienced an eye injury and those with a family history of the disease are at greater risk of contracting the disease.

Glaucoma is the leading cause of irreversible blindness and is often referred to as “the sneak thief of sight” because it does not exhibit symptoms and once vision is lost, it is permanent.

There is currently no cure for glaucoma.  Your best defense is to receive annual comprehensive dilated eye exams from a licensed eye care professional to rule out glaucoma or catch it in its early stages before noticeable vision loss occurs.

The California Department of Consumer Affairs licenses Optometrists, Contact Lens Dispensers and Registered Dispensing Opticians through the California State Board of Optometry and Ophthalmologists through the Medical Board of California.

To check the status of a license and to locate a licensed eye care professional near you, visit www.optometry.ca.gov.

 

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