January is National Glaucoma Awareness Month. Did you know that glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness in the U.S.? Glaucoma is a group of eye disorders leading to progressive damage to the optic nerve, and is characterized by loss of nerve tissue resulting in loss of vision.

 

Who does glaucoma affect? Glaucoma commonly affects people over the age of 40, but a congenital or infantile form of glaucoma can affect younger patients. People with a family history of glaucoma, African Americans over the age of 40, and Hispanics over the age of 60 are at an increased risk of developing glaucoma. Other risk factors include thinner corneas, chronic eye inflammation, and using medications that increase the pressure in the eyes.

While you may have heard of glaucoma, you may not know how quickly it can affect and take away your eye sight. At first, it may seem like a minor issue. Glaucoma first affects your peripheral vision, which causes you to see objects less clearly. Many people compensate for this by squinting, or moving their head to focus better. However, glaucoma can accelerate quickly; causing eyesight to rapidly and irreversibly deteriorate.

The best way to detect early signs of glaucoma is to have an eye exam done by your eye doctor. While glaucoma can’t be prevented, it can be controlled if it is diagnosed and treated early. If you don’t have an eye doctor already, you can find one using the CooperVision’s Find An Eye Doctor tool here.

 

Nothing in this blog post is to be construed as medical advice, nor is it intended to replace the recommendations of a medical professional. For specific questions, please see your eye care practitioner.
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