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Glaucoma Awareness

Today's Vision wants you to know that January is National Glaucoma

Awareness Month. Glaucoma is a serious, lifelong eye disease that can

lead to vision loss if not controlled. It's important to have regular

eye exams, because only an eye doctor can detect glaucoma in its early

stages.



Glaucoma is often called "the sneak thief of sight." That's because

people do not notice any signs of the disease until they have already

lost significant vision. Once lost, vision can't be restored. More than

2.7 million Americans age 40 and older have open angle glaucoma, the

most common form of glaucoma. At least half don't even know they have

it.



If you have not had an eye exam in the past year, schedule a

comprehensive eye exam with your Today's Vision eye doctor. When

checking for glaucoma, your eye doctor will look for damage to the optic

nerve and any loss of side vision. He or she will also check your eye

pressure.



Glaucoma causes loss of sight by damaging a part of the eye called the

optic nerve. This nerve sends information from your eyes to your brain.

When glaucoma damages your optic nerve, you begin to lose patches of

vision, usually side vision (peripheral vision). Over time, glaucoma may

also damage straight ahead (central) vision. You may not notice a loss

of side vision until you have lost a great deal of your sight.



These risk factors may increase your chance of having glaucoma:



Age – The older you are, the greater you are at risk (especially if you

are over 60 years old). African Americans are at a greater risk at a

younger age starting at age 40 and older.



Race – African Americans age 40 and over are 4-5 times more likely to

have glaucoma than others. Hispanics are also at increased risk for

glaucoma as they age. Those of Asian and Native American descent are at

increased risk for angle closure glaucoma.



Family history – If you have a parent, brother or sister with glaucoma,

you are more likely to get glaucoma. If you have glaucoma, inform your

family members to get complete eye exams.



Medical history – You are at risk if you have a history of high pressure

in your eyes, previous eye injury, long term steroid use, or

nearsightedness.



Learn more about glaucoma: http://www.preventblindness.org/glaucoma-learning-center

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