January is also Glaucoma Awareness Month. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO), about 3 million people in the U.S. have glaucoma, and half of those don’t know it. (1)
Glaucoma is a type of eye disease that, over time, causes damage to your optic nerve and ultimately blindness. Glaucoma occurs when the fluid drainage system in your eye becomes blocked, or produces too much fluid, causing an excess amount of fluid and pressure. Glaucoma occurs when this pressure builds in your eye and impacts the optic nerve.
The Glaucoma Research Foundation has a great video that explains this process. (2) Click to open the video in a new window:
The AAO (1) also has a helpful video to understand how eye pressure adversely affects your optic nerve:
Unfortunately, glaucoma accounts for 120,000 cases of blindness in the U.S. But the good news is: regularly scheduled eye exams can help catch glaucoma early.
During your exam, your eye doctor may perform a Tonometry exam (where you get a puff of air in the eye), or an Ophthalmoscopy exam (where your doctor uses a bright light to see and magnify the optic nerve). (3) Your doctor may perform other types of exams to test for glaucoma.
If glaucoma is present, your doctor will discuss options that can slow and sometimes stop the disease from progressing.
Make an eye appointment with your doctor here at Horizon Family Medical Group and get checked out.