For Glaucoma Awareness Month, here are answers to the often-asked questions about early detection and prevention of this eye disease that affects more than 3-million people in the U.S., nearly half of whom are unaware that they have glaucoma. It’s time to become more aware.
What can I do to prevent Glaucoma?
Preventing glaucoma is only possible if you know that it’s oncoming. Since knowledge is power, early detection is critical. A comprehensive, dilated eye exam is the first crucial step to warding off this vision-stealing condition before it arrives and to halt its progression before irreversible damage occurs. Patients should have these exams beginning at age 40 and then every two years from age 65, with more frequent screenings if you’re in a high-risk category.
How Can I Determine my At Risk Factor?
Your family’s eye health history plays a huge role in determining whether you’re in a high-risk category. Being of African, Asian or Hispanic heritage can put you at higher risk, being over 40, having high eye pressure detected in an exam, being farsighted or nearsighted, or if you’ve experienced eye trauma or an eye injury. Those who have other health problems such as diabetes, migraines, high blood pressure or poor blood circulation should have regular eye exams to stay ahead of glaucoma.
Taking the Right “Steps”
Regular exercise may help prevent glaucoma, as it is known to help relieve pressure in the eye, so keep moving and help keep it away.
It’s Really a Cover-up
Wearing eye protection when working with power tools, splintering wood, welding or hammering can help prevent serious eye injuries that can lead to glaucoma. Wearing eye and head protection during sporting activity is also highly recommended, especially when participating in high-speed racquet sports.
Vision loss from glaucoma currently cannot be reversed; therefore the key is prevention and/or control. Please see your ophthalmologist or regular eye care doctor to schedule your comprehensive eye exam and leave glaucoma in the rear view mirror.