January is Glaucoma Awareness Month and according to the Glaucoma Research Foundation, glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness. Unfortunately, by the time a person is diagnosed with glaucoma, the damage that has already been done to the eye is irreversible. According to the organization Prevent Blindness America, more than 2.2 million American over the age of 40 have the most common form of glaucoma which is open angle glaucoma. Half of those people aren't even aware that they have the condition. People who are at high risk of developing glaucoma should be tested every year or two after the age of 35. People who are at high risk include African Americans, those over the age of 60 and those with a family history of glaucoma. Medications are available to treat glaucoma but usually only aim to reduce elevated intraocular pressure and prevent damage to the optic nerve. Surgery can also help to reduce the pressure when medication does not but neither medication or surgery can reverse vision loss.
Quiz: Which Eye Problem gets "Focused On" during January?
- by Dr. Paul Krawitz
- 13 January, 2012