January is Glaucoma Awareness Month

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There are more than 3 million people in the United States with glaucoma, and over 60 million people worldwide are affected as well. The National Eye Institute projects this number will reach over 4 million in the next, 10 years, a 58 percent increase.

Glaucoma is called “the sneak thief of sight” since there are no symptoms and once vision is lost, it’s permanent. As much as 40% of vision can be lost without a person noticing. Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases that gradually steal sight without warning. Although the most common forms primarily affect the middle-aged and the elderly, glaucoma can affect people of all ages.

Glaucoma is the leading cause of irreversible blindness. Moreover, glaucoma is more prevalent within our African American and Latino populations, Glaucoma is 6 to 8 times more common in African Americans than Caucasians.

It is estimated that over half of those people who have glaucoma are unaware that they have it. Combined with our aging population, we can see an epidemic of blindness looming if we don’t raise awareness about the importance of regular eye examinations to preserve vision. The World Health Organization estimates that 4.5 million people worldwide are blind due to 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. That is where we come in. Schedule a comprehensive annual eye exam with the doctors at Bella Eye Care Optometry to help keep you protected from the “sneak thief of sight, Glaucoma.