January is Glaucoma Awareness Month
Glaucoma specialist, Dr. Sonia Rana, explains what glaucoma is and who might be at risk.
Glaucoma is a group of diseases that damages the eye’s optic nerve and can result in vision loss and blindness. With early detection and treatment, you can often protect against serious vision loss.
According to the Glaucoma Research Foundation, over 3 million Americans have glaucoma but only half of those know they have it. Estimates put the total number of suspected cases of glaucoma at over 60 million worldwide.
Anyone can develop glaucoma. Some people, listed below, are at higher risk than others:
• Everyone over age 60 (especially Mexican Americans)
• People with a family history of glaucoma
• African Americans over age 40
A comprehensive dilated eye exam can reveal more risk factors and is necessary to determine if glaucoma is present. In people with certain combinations of high-risk factors, medicines in the form of eye drops reduce the risk of developing glaucoma by about half. Screening for the disease is important and with early detection and treatment, serious vision loss can be prevented.