Posted by PR Newswire
Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of blindness for Americans age 60 and over. Of the estimated three million people in the United States who have glaucoma, only about half have actually been diagnosed. This means that approximately 1.5 million people are unaware that they have glaucoma and are slowly losing vision. There are most often no warning signs.
January is Glaucoma Awareness Month
Lighthouse Guild offers the following tips:
Get a Yearly Eye Exam
Early detection and treatment are crucial. Comprehensive dilated eye exams can help detect glaucoma in its early stages, possibly preventing it from causing further harm and loss of vision. If glaucoma is diagnosed, your eye doctor may prescribe medicated eye drops, conventional or laser surgery or a combination of both.
Dr. Laura Sperraza, Director of Low Vision Services at Lighthouse Guild, says, “The only way glaucoma and other eye diseases can be detected early is through an eye examination. Even if you don’t notice changes in your vision, yearly exams should be a priority.”
There are often no warning signs of glaucoma. As the disease progresses symptoms may include:
- Subtle loss of contrast – the ability to distinguish objects from their background. Diminished contrast sensitivity may affect your ability to detect curbs or steps.
- Difficulty driving at night.
- Progressive loss of peripheral vision increases risk when crossing streets, if moving vehicles are outside your line of vision and may also cause falls.
Are You At Risk
Anyone can develop glaucoma, but you are at greater risk if you are over 40 years old or if you are of African, Hispanic or Asian heritage. Diabetes, high blood pressure and a family history of glaucoma are also risk factors.
GET AN EYE EXAM – it is the most important thing you can do to reduce risk of vision loss from glaucoma.
About Lighthouse Guild
Lighthouse Guild, based in New York, is the leading not-for-profit healthcare organization dedicated to addressing and preventing vision loss through coordinated vision and health services. With Lighthouse Guild, people who are at risk for, or affected by, vision loss have access to all the resources necessary to lead full, independent and productive lives. For more information, visit Lighthouseguild.org.