January is officially Glaucoma Awareness Month. Educating ourselves on what glaucoma is and how it affects vision is the first step in preventing vision loss or blindness. This is because glaucoma does its damage in a slow and gradual manor often without showing signs or symptoms until permanent damage has already occurred. That is why routine vision exams are critical in catching this “silent sight killer.”
What is Glaucoma? Glaucoma is a group of diseases that damage the optic nerve at the back of the eye. This is the part of the eye that transmits image signals to the brain. The most common form is called primary open angle glaucoma, in which the pressure in the eye increases and the fluids inside the eye do not drain properly. All other forms arise from this increase in pressure.
There is no cure for glaucoma but early detection and proper medication can slow or prevent vision loss. Because there are virtually no symptoms in its most common form, an annual eye exam is needed to detect the warning signs early on.