March 7 to 13 is World Glaucoma Week (some places say it is March 6 - 12 - but no matter!)
Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases that gradually steal sight without warning. In the early stages of the disease, there may be no symptoms. Experts estimate that half of the people affected by glaucoma may not know they have it.
Vision loss is caused by damage to the optic nerve. This nerve acts like an electric cable with over a million wires. It is responsible for carrying images from the eye to the brain. See the difference between normal vision and stages of glaucoma
There is no cure for glaucoma—yet. However, medication or surgery can slow or prevent further vision loss. The appropriate treatment depends upon the type of glaucoma among other factors. Early detection is vital to stopping the progress of the disease.
It was once thought that high pressure within the eye, also known as intraocular pressure or IOP, is the main cause of this optic nerve damage. Although IOP is clearly a risk factor, we now know that other factors must also be involved because even people with “normal” levels of pressure can experience vision loss from glaucoma.
Are you at risk for Glaucoma?
Everyone is at risk for glaucoma. However, certain groups are at higher risk than others. People at high risk for glaucoma should get a complete eye exam, including eye dilation, every one or two years. Read more to know about specific groups that are at a higher risk.
Living with Glaucoma
A diagnosis of glaucoma shouldn't prevent you from enjoying your life. When you have the facts, you can take charge of your health with just a few adjustments to your routine. Remember, most cases of glaucoma are managed through medication, surgery, or a combination of treatments. With an early diagnosis, most people with glaucoma do not go blind.