January is Glaucoma Awareness Month

Glaucoma

January is not only National Eye Care month, but it is also Glaucoma Month!  Glaucoma is a group of serious eye conditions which can lead to blindness especially if left undiagnosed or untreated.  There are different types of glaucoma and many people who suffer from this condition go undiagnosed for years because they do not even know they have it!  Due to the insidious or sneaky nature of glaucoma, people tend not to be diagnosed until they begin to experience some level of blindness.  According to American Glaucoma Society (AGS), “at least 3 million Americans suffer from glaucoma” and “it is one of the leading causes of adult blindness”.  Yet, glaucoma is treatable and the blindness associated with glaucoma can be preventable.  To best protect yourself and your loved ones from glaucoma schedule routine and complete medical eye exams.  The Glaucoma Research Foundation reports there are five different tests included in a complete eye exam and they are included below:

Your Routine Comprehensive Eye Exam to Check for Glaucoma Should Include:

Examining the: Name of Test:
The inner eye pressure Tonometry
The shape and color of the optic nerve Ophthalmoscopy (dilated eye exam)
The complete field of vision Perimetry (visual field test)
The angle in the eye where the iris meets the cornea Gonioscopy
Thickness of the cornea Pachymetry

 

The AGS reports, “Most people who go blind from glaucoma are blind in at least one eye at the time of original detection, which points to the need for better early diagnosis”.   Different than many other eye conditions or diseases, the majority of “varieties of glaucoma are chronic” which means they are lifelong disorders that cannot be cured but can be controlled (AGS).  Similar to asthma or arthritis, glaucoma suffers will likely require some changes in their lifestyles.  Please keep in mind with glaucoma, just like most long-term or chronic conditions, knowledge is power and early detection is very important.  So make sure that you schedule and attend all routine eye exams and speak to your eye care professional about glaucoma this year.

Information above provided by the American Glaucoma Society (www.americanglaucomasociety.net) and The Glaucoma Research Foundation (www.glaucoma.org).  For further educational information visit the websites listed above or contact the Livingston Health Department Nursing Division at 973-53-7961 x 228.