January 02, 2023

Prevent Glaucoma From Causing Vision Loss!

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January is National Glaucoma Awareness Month. Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases that can cause damage to the optic nerve, which connects the eye to the brain. If left untreated, glaucoma can lead to permanent vision loss or even blindness. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that about 3 million Americans have glaucoma, and it is the second leading cause of blindness worldwide.

One of the most concerning aspects of glaucoma is that it often has no symptoms in its early stages. As a result, many people with glaucoma are unaware that they have the disease until it has already caused significant damage to their vision. This is why regular eye exams are so important, especially for people who are at higher risk for glaucoma.

Risk factors for glaucoma include:

  • Age: People over the age of 60 are at higher risk for glaucoma. African Americans, however, are at increased risk after age 40.
  • Family history: If someone in your family has glaucoma, you are at higher risk.
  • Race: Glaucoma is more prevalent among African Americans compared to Caucasians, which increases their chances of experiencing permanent vision loss. Meanwhile, individuals of Asian descent and Native Alaskans are at a heightened risk of angle-closure glaucoma, and those of Japanese descent are more likely to develop low-tension glaucoma.
  • Medical conditions: Certain medical conditions, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease, can increase your risk of developing glaucoma.
  • Eye conditions: Some eye conditions, such as significant nearsightedness, thin cornea, sensitive optic nerve, retinal detachment, eye tumors, and eye inflammation, can increase your risk of glaucoma.
  • Physical injuries to the eye: Severe trauma, such as being hit in the eye, can result in glaucoma.
  • Medication use: Prolonged usage of corticosteroids, such as hydrocortisone, cortisone, and prednisone, might increase the likelihood of certain individuals developing secondary glaucoma.

There is no cure (yet) for glaucoma, but if it's caught early, you can preserve your vision and prevent vision loss. You can take many steps to help protect your eyes and lower your risk of vision loss from glaucoma.

  • Schedule an eye exam: Regular eye exams can help detect eye problems early, making managing or treating them easier before they get worse.
  • Eat a healthy diet: A diet that lacks essential nutrients such as vitamins A, C, and E and minerals such as zinc, copper, and selenium can increase the risk of developing glaucoma. These nutrients are important for maintaining the health of the eye, and a deficiency in any of them can lead to eye damage.
  • Be physically active: Regular exercise can improve blood flow to the eyes, which can help reduce the risk of glaucoma by decreasing intraocular pressure and reducing the likelihood of optic nerve damage.
  • Avoid smoking: Smoking has been shown to increase intraocular pressure and cause narrowing of blood vessels, which reduces blood flow to the eye. These conditions can damage the optic nerve and increase the risk of glaucoma.
  • Control your blood pressure: High blood pressure can also increase intraocular pressure and narrow blood vessels, thus increasing your risk for glaucoma.

By taking these simple steps to preserve your vision today, you can help ensure good eye health and reduce the risk of vision problems in the future. So, do not wait, take action today to protect your eyes and maintain good vision for tomorrow!

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