Like so many other diseases that seem to creep up on us unawares, glaucoma, the second-leading cause of blindness worldwide, usually has no symptoms until it’s too late � leaving about half of those with the disease unaware of having it until they experience vision loss. Regular screenings for glaucoma are the best way to detect the disease early, and since damage caused by glaucoma cannot be reversed, these screenings are vital � especially for those at high risk of developing the disease.
“Glaucoma can be treated and sight can be preserved -- if the disease is detected early and treatment follows, according to Joel Schuman, MD, director of the UPMC Eye Center and chairman of the Department of Ophthalmology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. “Being examined by an ophthalmolo0gist at least every two years after age 40 is key to preventing blindness.”
Risk factors for glaucoma include:
- Being over 40
- Having a family history of glaucoma or another eye disease
- Being African-American or of African or Latin heritage
- Having eye surgery, or experiencing a serious eye injury
- Using steroids for a long period of time
- Having diabetes, high blood pressure or another chronic illness
Take good care of your eyes. Make an appointment today with an eye doctor if you haven’t had a recent checkup.
By Teresa K. Flatley