Glaucoma, a degenerative eye disease that causes damage to the optic nerve, is the second leading cause of blindness in the world according to the World Health Organization. Ophthalmologists at The Mount Sinai Hospital offer tips for prevention and early detection of the condition.
In most cases, there are few or no symptoms of glaucoma. Gradually peripheral or side vision begins to worsen without patients realizing, allowing the disease to progress into later stages. “Glaucoma has been called the silent thief of vision,” says Janet Serle, MD, Professor of Ophthalmology and Director of the Glaucoma Clinical and Research Fellowships at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. “If you are diagnosed with glaucoma it is extremely important that you follow up with your physician regularly, typically 2 to 4 times a year, and that you take your eye medications as prescribed”. Dr. Serle also explains that the only definite treatment for glaucoma, proven effective, is to lower your eye pressure. This is done by either taking medications or having laser eye surgery.
Facts about Glaucoma
•Currently, 2.7 million people in the United States over age 40 have glaucoma. The National Eye Institute projects this number will reach 4.2 million by 2030, a 58 percent increase (Glaucoma Research Foundation)
•Glaucoma is most prevalent among African and Hispanic populations. Glaucoma is 6 to 8 times more common in African Americans than Caucasians (http://www.glaucoma.org)
•Risk factors include individuals over 60 years old, family history, diabetes, high blood pressure, eye injuries, and congenital defects
Tips for Glaucoma Prevention
•Find out if there is a history of glaucoma in your family
•Schedule regular eye exams to help preserve unnecessary vision loss
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