January is National Glaucoma Awareness Month

January - National Glaucoma Awareness
3 Jan 2023
7 mins
Table Of Content
January is National Glaucoma Awareness Month

    Don't Let Glaucoma Steal Your Eyesight! 


    Do you know the fact that human eyes can differentiate approximately 10 million colors? Though we have often taken it for granted, the miracle of vision is one of the greatest gifts of the human race. 


    Everyone likes to have that eagle eye! National Glaucoma Awareness Month is celebrated every January. So, January 2023 is the perfect time to learn about glaucoma, its symptoms, detection, prevention, and facts.      


    How Many Get Affected By Glaucoma?


    Glaucoma is the second most common cause of blindness in the world, according to the World Health Organization. About 65 million individuals worldwide suffer from glaucoma, which results in irreversible blindness. In India, 12 million people are affected, and nearly 1.2 million are blind from the disease. In the general population, more than 90% of glaucoma cases remain undiagnosed, and 50% of those with glaucoma are unaware of their illness.   


    What Is Glaucoma?


    Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases that can cause vision loss and blindness by damaging a nerve at the back of the eye called the optic nerve due to increased pressure. This is called intraocular pressure. The optic nerve is a bundle of nerve fibers that sends visual information from the eye to the brain. If it got damaged, it would result in poor vision. There are so many challenges faced by glaucoma patients everyday.  According to WHO, there are several types of glaucoma, but the most common ones are open-angle glaucoma and closed-angle glaucoma. 


    What Exactly Do Glaucoma Patients See?


    Vision loss severely impacts the quality of life. The loss of vision in glaucoma will be as if one is "looking through the straw." According to the American journal of medical sciences, the most common symptoms faced by glaucoma patients are blurry vision, needing more light to see, seeing glare, hard in differentiating contrast colors, and lack of 180-degree view. 


    Glaucoma Screening - How Will You Be Tested?


    It is important to have your eyes examined by an eye doctor at least once a year. It is essential that you have a basic understanding of glaucoma tests so that you can make some informed decisions about the treatment. The following is a list of some of the tests.


    Check Your Eye Pressure


    The most important risk factor for glaucoma is increased ocular pressure. You must check your eye pressure every time you visit an eye hospital or clinic. The eye pressure test is called tonometry, it is quick and painless.


    Visual Field Test


    It is a functional test done by your eye care professional. This test will inform you about any glaucoma-related field of vision loss, the extent of that loss, and the rate at which the disease progresses. This information will be used to help customize your therapy. This test is painless and will take a few minutes for each eye. 


    Dilated Eye Test


    A complete examination of your eye includes a dilated eye test. Here, your ophthalmologist will dilate your eyes using an eyedrop and assess your glaucoma status. Your doctor will check the shape, color, depth, size, and vessels of the optic nerve from the magnified, 3D view of your optic nerve. 


    Glaucoma Imaging Test


    It is one of the most reliable tests done by your healthcare provider to check for glaucoma disease progression. This is non-invasive, painless, and involves no radiation. First, your pupils will be dilated using an eyedrop, and then digital photographs of your optic nerve will be taken using a special machine. The results will be projected on the monitor or screen of the machine for further discussion with your doctor. Other tests include the corneal thickness test and angle tests. 


    Smart Prevention Tips


    The damage caused by glaucoma can't be reversed. But prevention, management, and regular eye checkups can reduce or slow down vision loss. Usually, if diagnosed early, the treatment starts with eye drops and certain drugs to lower your blood pressure. Some may require surgery. The most useful prevention tips for this glaucoma awareness month 2023 are,


    • Get regular eye-check ups
    • Protect your eyes from injury
    • Eat well to see well
    • Exercise regularly
    • Wear eye protection
    • Take your medications correctly
    • Protect your eyes from sunlight
    • Sleep in the correct position


    7 Common Facts About Glaucoma To Know


    • Glaucoma is not a single disease; it is a group of eye diseases.
    • Early detection of glaucoma can prevent permanent blindness.
    • Glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness.
    • Glaucoma testing is painless and quick.
    • Even though older adults are at higher risk of glaucoma, anyone at any age can get it.
    • Glaucoma is the silent thief of vision.
    • Glaucoma is Hereditary


    Why Is National Glaucoma Awareness Month Important?


    “Awareness is the first step to action”  


    Increased glaucoma awareness will increase the knowledge about the disease, the importance of eye screening and eye care, learn prevention strategies, case detection, and lower the rate of glaucoma-related blindness. Since glaucoma is a silent disease, the symptoms are not too obvious, so awareness is important for early detection. Globally, people's attitudes toward health have changed, and there is a desire to achieve excellent health through investing in preventive measures. The greatest strategy to control glaucoma before it results in permanent vision loss is early detection and treatment. If you are at increased risk for glaucoma, make sure to have a thorough dilated eye exam every one to two years. Follow your doctor's recommendations for controlling your blood pressure and diabetes to safeguard your vision from further risk factors. Also, remember to use safety glasses while working, playing sports, and doing other leisure activities.

    Written by
    Dr. Karpagam AnandMedical Content Writer
    AboutPharm D
    Tags :GlaucomaGlaucoma awarenessGlaucoma screening