January is National Glaucoma Awareness Month. Over three million people in the country have glaucoma, with an estimated 60 million people worldwide. The National Eye Institute projects that 4.2 million Americans will have glaucoma by 2030, a 58 percent increase.
What is glaucoma?
Glaucoma is a condition that can cause blindness and vision loss, damaging the optic nerve because of increased eye pressure. An optic nerve is a group of nerve fibers that send visual information from the eye to the brain. If it gets damaged, it results in poor vision. Secondary glaucoma occurs when a different disease causes or contributes to increased eye pressure, damaging the optic nerve and causing vision loss.
Glaucoma is the top cause of irreversible blindness. It is a slowly progressive condition, meaning half of the almost three million Americans living with glaucoma won’t notice it. A person can lose as much as 40% of vision without notice. Once vision is lost, it’s permanent.
The importance of glaucoma screening
It is vital to have an eye doctor examine your eyes at least once a year. In addition, you need to have a basic understanding of glaucoma tests to make informed decisions about the treatment.
Check Your Eye Pressure
The most critical risk factor for glaucoma is increased ocular pressure. The eye pressure test is called tonometry; it is quick and painless.
Visual Field Test
It is a functional test done by your eye care professional, and it will inform you about any glaucoma-related field of vision loss, the extent of that loss, and the rate at which the disease progresses. This test is painless and takes a few minutes for each eye.
Dilated Eye Test
In this test, an ophthalmologist dilates your eyes using an eyedrop and assesses your glaucoma status. Then, the doctor checks the shape, color, depth, size, and vessels of the optic nerve from the magnified, 3D view of your optic nerve.
Glaucoma Imaging Test
It is one of the most reliable tests for glaucoma disease progression. First, the doctor dilates the pupils using an eyedrop, and then they take digital photographs of the optic nerve. The results are projected on the monitor or screen of the device for further discussion with your doctor.
Other tests include the corneal thickness test and angle tests.
“Screen, protect, cure”
On January 3, 2023, The Glaucoma Research Foundation (GRF) launched the “Screen, protect, cure” campaign in the United States. Designed with the goal of providing resources to educate and raise awareness of glaucoma during Glaucoma Awareness Month.
This month, many institutions and authorities will share resources to educate individuals at risk for glaucoma and encourage them to take an active and informed role in their eye health.
At Signature Health Services, we are deeply concerned about the eye health of our community. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with glaucoma, we can provide you with any information regarding the disease. Furthermore, you can call us at any time for assistance.
Call Signature 24/7 at 1 (800) 277-8291 for excellence in skilled and compassionate home health care.