January is Glaucoma Awareness Month!
More than 3 million Americans have glaucoma. The National Eye Institute projects this number will reach 4.2 million by 2030, a 58 percent increase.
Worldwide, over 60 million people have glaucoma. Experts believe half of the people with glaucoma do not know they have it.
To prevent glaucoma, the most important thing to do is receive regular eye examinations. It is important to raise awareness to prevent an epidemic of blindness in the aging population.
What is Glaucoma?
Glaucoma is a group of eye conditions that can lead to blindness. With all types of glaucoma, the optic nerve is damaged, which connects the eye to the brain. The damage is often caused by a buildup of pressure inside the eye.
Glaucoma occurs most in older adults but can affect people of all ages. It is the leading cause of blindness in older adults over 60.
Often people experience no warning signs with all types of glaucoma. The signs appear slowly leading many people to not notice a change in vision until the condition is at an advanced stage. For this reason, it is crucial to have regular eye exams, where the eye pressure is measured, to make a diagnosis in its early stages. Glaucoma vison loss cannot be reversed. When a diagnosis is made the vison loss can be prevented or slowed down. Once diagnosed treatment is needed for glaucoma for the rest of one’s life.
How to Raise Awareness?
Talk to your family, friends, or anyone in your community about glaucoma. Encourage everyone you know to receive regular eye exams.
Encourage your community to get involved with glaucoma fundraisers and research donations to help find a cure.
Connect with glaucoma educational resources online by visiting www.glaucoma.org and following Glaucoma Research foundation on social media.
1. “January Is Glaucoma Awareness Month.” Glaucoma Research Foundation, Glaucoma Research Foundation, https://www.glaucoma.org/news/glaucoma-awareness-month.php.
2. Mayo Clinic Staff. “Glaucoma.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 23 Oct. 2020, https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/glaucoma/symptoms-causes/syc-20372839.