January is Glaucoma Awareness Month, a time to learn more about glaucoma, one of the leading causes of blindness. Check your awareness of this complicated disease by answering these true or false statements:
True or False: Glaucoma is caused by elevated eye pressure.
True. Glaucoma is caused by sensitivity to eye pressure, and the level of sensitivity can vary from person to person.
True or False: Glaucoma is easy to diagnose because it has several distinct warning signs.
False. The most common form of glaucoma, primary open-angle glaucoma, has no signs or symptoms in the early stages. By the time visual changes such as limited peripheral vision are noticed, significant permanent optic nerve damage will have already occurred.
True or False: There is no cure for glaucoma.
True. Surgical procedures and medications can help lower intraocular pressure, but this only helps prevent further eye damage. Vision loss caused by glaucoma is irreversible.
True or False: Everyone is at equal risk for developing glaucoma.
False. Age, ethnicity and family history all affect glaucoma risk. Being above the age of 40 (or 35 if you are African American) increases your risk for glaucoma. Your chance of developing the disease also increases if glaucoma runs in your family. Being of African or Hispanic heritage also increases your risk of glaucoma.
True or False: Comprehensive eye exams are the best way to prevent glaucoma.
True. A regular comprehensive eye exam with dilation is the most effective method to detect glaucoma early and prevent damage.
Glaucoma is called “the silent thief of sight” because it can develop slowly and painlessly. Do not take a chance when it comes to your vision. Nothing can replace a comprehensive eye exam, so make an appointment with your ophthalmologist during Glaucoma Awareness Month!