Every New Year, we often make resolutions to better our health. People commit to eating healthier or exercising more, but how often do people commit to getting an eye exam? January is National Glaucoma Awareness Month, a time to raise awareness about “a group of eye diseases that can cause vision loss and blindness by damaging a nerve in the back of the eye called the optic nerve.” According to the National Eye Institute (NEI), “Glaucoma is the leading cause of vision loss and blindness in the United States.”
The reason it is so important to raise awareness about glaucoma is that it very often has no early warning signs. Nearly 3 million people have glaucoma in the United States, and half are unaware. If untreated, glaucoma can cause irreversible vision loss or blindness, which is why it is so important to raise awareness.
Some people are at a higher risk for glaucoma. These groups include:
- Everyone over age 60, especially Hispanics/Latinos
- African Americans over age 40
- People with a family history of glaucoma
There is only one way to know if you have glaucoma. According to the NEI, “Getting a comprehensive dilated eye exam is the only way to find out if you
have glaucoma. During the exam, an eye care professional places drops in your eyes to widen the pupils and looks for signs of the disease in the optic nerve.” Early treatment can often stop the damage of glaucoma and protect eyesight.
This January, make it a New Year’s resolution to take care of your eye health and spread awareness about glaucoma! We also wanted to highlight some resources available at the library to help empower anyone affected by this disease. Stop by and check one out, or place a hold on any of these titles by following the corresponding link:
- All about your eyes edited by Sharon Fekrat, MD, FACS, Henry Feng, MD., and Tanya S. Glaser, MD
- Mayo Clinic guide to better vision : saving your eyesight with the latest on macular degeneration, glaucoma, cataracts, diabetic retinopathy and much more by Sophie J. Bakri
- Understanding and living with glaucoma edited by Margaret Perrone and Elaine Tran ; reviewed by Sunita Radhakrishnan, MD
- Glaucoma : what every patient should know by Harry A. Quigley
- The eye book : a complete guide to eye disorders and health by Gary H. Cassel, MD.
- Ray – starring Jamie Foxx – available on Blu-Ray and DVD
Want to learn more about glaucoma? There is a lot of great information and resources on the Glaucoma Research Foundation‘s website.