January: Glaucoma Awareness Month
Could you have glaucoma but don't know it? Glaucoma is a sneaky disease that accounts for roughly 10 percent of all blindness cases. The World Health Organization estimates that 4.5 million people worldwide are blind due to glaucoma. Of the 2.7 million Americans over age 40 who have glaucoma, only about half know they have the disease. They can be losing vision so gradually that they don’t notice, but any vision loss is permanent. The National Eye Institute (NEI) expects the U.S. figure to reach 4.2 million by 2030.
The best prevention against glaucoma is to get a comprehensive eye exam that includes having your eyes dilated. Although there is no cure or way to regain the vision lost, medication and surgery can prevent further loss. Your risk increases after age 60 and if you’re of African, Asian or Hispanic descent.