Glaucoma Can Steal Sight – Lions Asked To Spread The Word About Dangers Of Disease That Affects Nearly 70 Million People.

January is Nation Glaucoma Awareness Month, an important time to spread the word about this sight-steeling disease.
Glaucoma is called “the sneak thief of sight” since there is no symptoms and once vision is lost, it permanent. As much as 40 percent of vision can be lost without a person noticing.
Glaucoma is the second leading cause of preventable blindness. Moreover, among African American and Latino populations, glaucoma is the leading cause of blindness, and it is more prevalent. Glaucoma is six to eight times more common in African Americans than Caucasians.
Over four million Americans, and nearly 70 million people worldwide, have glaucoma. Experts estimate that half of them don’t know they have it. Combined with our aging population, we can see an epidemic of blindness looming if we do not raise awareness about the importance of regular eye examinations to preserve vision.
In the United States, approximately 120,000 are blind from glaucoma, accounting for 9 percent to 12 percent of all cases of blindness.
Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases that gradually steal sight without warning. Although the most common forms primarily affect the middle-aged and the elderly, glaucoma can affect people of all ages.
Vision loss is caused by damage to the optic nerve. This nerve acts like an electric cable with over a million wires. It is responsible for carrying images from the eye to the brain. There is no cure for glaucoma – yet. However, medication or surgery can slow or prevent further vision loss. The appropriate treatment depends upon the type of glaucoma among other factors. Early detection is vital to stopping the progress of the disease.
Everyone is at risk for glaucoma from babies to senior citizens. Older people are at a higher risk for glaucoma but babies can be born with glaucoma – approximately one out of every 10,000 babies born in the United States. Young adults can get glaucoma, too. African Americans in particular are susceptible at a younger age.
There are two main types of glaucoma: primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG), and angle-closure glaucoma. These are marked by an increase of intraocular pressure (IOP), of pressure inside the eye. When optic nerve damage has occurred despite a normal IOP, this is called normal tension glaucoma. Secondary glaucoma refers to any case in which another disease causes or contributes to increased eye pressure, resulting in optic nerve damage and vision loss.
Glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness in the world, according to the World Health Organization. In the most common form, there are virtually no symptoms. Vision loss begins with peripheral or side vision, so if you have glaucoma, you may not notice anything until significant vision is lost.
The best way to protect your sight from glaucoma is to get a comprehensive eye examination. Then, if you have glaucoma, treatment can begin immediately.
People are encouraged to have a comprehensive eye exam at least every two years. The best and most effective way to detect glaucoma is having a dilated eye exam.
Glaucoma is the leading cause of blindness among African Americans. And among Hispanics in older age groups, the risk of glaucoma is nearly as high as that for African Americans. Also, siblings of persons diagnosed with glaucoma have a significantly increased risk of having glaucoma.
For more information, contact your local Lions Club or call 910-692-7966.


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