JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA, December 28, 2011- January is dedicated to Glaucoma Awareness Month, and according to the Glaucoma Research Foundation, over 4 million Americans, and nearly 70 million people worldwide, have glaucoma. Glaucoma is the leading cause of preventable blindness, and is often called the”the sneak thief of sight”, since there are typically no symptoms, and once vision is lost, it is irreversible.
Glaucoma is when vision loss is caused by damage to the optic nerve. The optic nerve is responsible for carrying images from the eye to the brain. When a patient develops glaucoma, those images are modified as vision becomes impaired and limited. The most common forms of glaucoma primarily affect the middle-aged and the elderly, however, glaucoma can affect people of all ages.
C.M. Harris, M.D., Ophthalmologist with Clay Eye Physicians & Surgeons states,”It’s hard to believe that as much as 40% of vision can be lost without patients even knowing it. In fact, most people diagnosed with glaucoma, don’t even know they have it.” Dr. Harris continues,”While there is no cure for glaucoma, medication and/or surgery can slow the progression of this disease. Early detection is critical, so annual eye exams are key.”