January is Glaucoma Awareness Month
What is it?
Glaucoma is an eye disease that damages the optic nerve. Glaucoma can cause vision loss and even blindness if it is not detected early.
What causes it?
Glaucoma occurs when pressure in the eye builds up causing damage to the optic nerve, thereby causing loss of vision. Peripheral vision is usually lost first, followed by central vision. Pressure in the eye can also be caused by injury, a tumor, or an infection. Sometimes damage will occur even though the pressure in the eye is normal.
Who can get it?
Glaucoma is frequently seen in people over 40, but anyone can get it. Glaucoma is also hereditary, and there is a greater risk of developing it if you have high blood pressure, diabetes, or cardiovascular disease.
How is it treated?
Glaucoma can be treated with daily drops or laser surgery. Unfortunately once vision is lost it cannot be recovered. Quite often glaucoma displays no symptoms in the early stages and can only be detected by a comprehensive eye exam.