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What is glaucoma?

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Glaucoma Awareness Month

January is a month devoted to yearly goals of self-improvement. Many resolutions are made to promote your overall health. Why not bring your wellness goals into focus by giving some attention to your eyes? 

January is Glaucoma Awareness Month. Glaucoma is common, affecting nearly two million people each year. It is not actually a stand-alone disease, but a group of diseases that can harm your optic nerve. Patients who suffer from glaucoma describe having “tunnel vision,” meaning their peripheral vision suffers and they can only see what is straight ahead. Some do not even experience symptoms until the disease has progressed. In the early stages of glaucoma, the outer edges of a person’s vision may begin to blur and eventually, without treatment, grow dark altogether. It is one of the leading causes of blindness in the world today. 

Anyone is susceptible to being diagnosed with glaucoma, especially if you are over 60 and have a family history of the disease. It is very important to be aware of any changes to your vision and make an annual appointment with your local eye doctor. 

If you have voiced concerns about your vision to your doctor, they may test your eyes with very simple tests, such as a tonometer test. As odd as the test may sound, it only means doctors will numb your eyes and touch a small device to your cornea to measure the pressure. It is completely painless and may save your vision!

Signs that you might be experiencing onset glaucoma: 

  • Tunnel vision 
  • Loss in central vision
  • Headaches caused by eyestrain 

In addition to making an annual eye appointment, optometrists remind concerned patients of two things: 

  • Sunglasses are not only for hot, sunny weather. Sun damage can impact the overall health of eyes and increase eye strain. Protective eyewear should be worn whenever possible. Though it may not prevent diseases of the eyes such as glaucoma altogether, it can protect from other elements.
  • Have a balanced diet of vitamin-rich foods not exclusive to carrots as the wives’ tales say. Examples of foods would be leafy green vegetables and fish which will sharpen images and enhance your health in general.  

After the age of 65 doctors recommend scheduling eye appointments every 6-12 months, since getting ahead of the issue may save your sight entirely. Start 2019 with the resolution of clear vision and call your optometrist!


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