Did you know that there is a whole month set aside to become educated on the topic of ocular hypertension? Those are some pretty big words, but don’t let them scare you. Ocular hypertension means high pressure inside your eye, which is the most common cause of glaucoma. January is National Glaucoma Awareness Month, and this is a perfect time to learn more about the second leading cause of vision loss and blindness.
What is Glaucoma?
Glaucoma is not just one disease; the term glaucoma actually refers to an entire family of diseases that affect the optic nerve. Elevated eye pressure creates stress on the optic nerve and results in permanent vision loss. There is no cure for glaucoma, and there is no way to prevent the disease either. Early diagnosis is absolutely critical to preserve eyesight because glaucoma causes irreversible damage to the optic nerve.
Who is at Risk?
Glaucoma can affect every age group, so everyone is at some risk for developing glaucoma, although advancing age is a risk factor. Unlike other eye diseases that are accompanied by pain and other symptoms, glaucoma can significantly advance before there are any noticeable symptoms. For this reason, it is important to have regular comprehensive eye exams so your ophthalmologist can detect glaucoma as early as possible (Source: Glaucoma.org).
Take a Quiz and Know Your Risk
Wouldn’t it be nice to know if you are at high risk for developing glaucoma? You can actually find out the answer to this question in less than one minute. By taking just a short quiz, you can determine whether you are in a high risk category for glaucoma. These questions relate to your:
- Age. If you are over 40 years of age, you are more likely to develop glaucoma.
- Racial or ethnic heritage. African American and Latino populations are at higher risk for glaucoma than Caucasians.
- Family history. Having a relative with glaucoma increases your risk for developing the disease.
- Medical conditions. Specific conditions like diabetes, hypertension, nearsightedness, farsightedness, eye injury, or eye tumor can place you in a high risk category.
Begin 2016 with an accurate assessment of your eye health, and make a comprehensive eye exam a priority in the New Year. Do your part to spread awareness about glaucoma during National Glaucoma Awareness Month. Take the Glaucoma Risk Assessment, share the link with a friend or family member, and make it a goal to incorporate glaucoma awareness into your conversations this month. This disease cannot be cured, so early treatment is the answer. Your vigilance could help preserve someone else’s vision, or even your own!