January is Glaucoma Awareness Month
The American Optometric Association emphasizes importance of comprehensive eye exams during National Glaucoma Awareness Month
ST. LOUIS, MO (January 3, 2011)—According to the American Optometric Association (AOA), early detection and treatment is critical to maintain healthy vision and protect the eyes from the effects of potentially blinding diseases, such as glaucoma. Studies show that over the next ten years the number of Americans diagnosed with glaucoma will increase by more than one million, yet Americans are still not doing as much as they should to help protect their vision.
Although glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness in the U.S., awareness and understanding surrounding the disease is relatively low. According to data from the AOA’s latest American Eye-Q® consumer survey, less than a quarter (22 percent) of all Americans know that glaucoma primarily causes deterioration to peripheral vision.
The survey also indicated 56 percent of Americans incorrectly believe glaucoma is preventable. While the disease is not preventable, it is treatable, and regular, comprehensive eye exams play a critical role in successful outcomes for patients. The AOA recommends those who suffer from glaucoma have a dilated eye examination annually. More frequent exams may be needed if you notice additional changes in your vision.
“Those individuals who do not visit their eye doctor on a regular basis are putting their vision and quality of life at risk,” said Dr. Gregory Wolfe, AOA’s Glaucoma Eye Care Expert. “Glaucoma is often referred to as ‘the sneak thief of sight’ because it can strike without pain or other symptoms. Vision lost to glaucoma cannot be restored, so early detection and treatment are paramount.”
Americans also are not aware of the factors that put them most at risk for developing glaucoma. Only 17 percent of those surveyed indicated knowing that race or ethnicity may increase their risk. According to the Glaucoma Research Foundation, African Americans ages 45 to 65 are 14 to 17 times more likely to go blind from glaucoma than Caucasians. Other risk factors include people who have a family history of glaucoma, are over age 60, or have had severe eye trauma. Some studies suggest high amounts of nearsightedness, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes may also be risk factors for the development of glaucoma.
for more articles like this visit our eye care blog