Glaucoma is known as the sight-stealing disease for good reason: there are no symptoms and, once vision is gone, it’s really gone. This, of course, makes it a particularly devastating disease.
Statistics found on the Glaucoma Research Foundation website say that more than 60-million people worldwide have Glaucoma, but only half of those people actually know it. One of the problems with detecting Glaucoma is that vision loss first begins on the side, so you may not notice what’s happening until significant vision is lost. And, while it usually affects middle-aged folks and the elderly, that’s not always the case. Childhood Glaucoma can be inherited.
Glaucoma is a disease the damages the eye’s optic nerve. There are several types of Glaucoma, although there are two main kinds: Primary Open-Angle Glaucoma (POAG) and Angle-Closure Glaucoma. It’s important for people to understand that while medication (eye drops or pills) and surgery might help stop progression, those things can’t repair eye sight that is already lost. This is why early detection is crucial.
Since January is National Glaucoma Awareness Month, Health Net is urging you to look after your eyes. While it’s important to have a yearly eye exam with a board-certified ophthalmologist, you should visit the doctor sooner if you experience:
- Patchy, blind spots, blurred vision or tunnel vision
- Severe headaches
- Nausea and vomiting
- Eye redness or halos around lights
The good news is that innovative ways to detect Glaucoma, and surgical options, are happening as this is written. One of the best places you can go for regular updates is social media. Follow the Glaucoma Research Foundation on Facebook or @GlaucomaOrg on Twitter, for research, breaking news, treatment advice, awareness videos and information. Podcasts and webinars are also excellent ways to find out about ground-breaking research and new treatments.