National Glaucoma Awareness
Happy New Year! Have you had your annual eye exam?
Glaucoma is a serious, lifelong eye disease that can lead to blindness if not controlled. It can happen at any age but is more common in older adults.
Glaucoma causes loss of sight by damaging a part of the eye called the optic nerve. This nerve sends information from the eyes to the brain. When the disease damages the optic nerve, one may begin to lose patches of vision, usually side vision (peripheral vision).
According to the Glaucoma Research Foundation, glaucoma affects more than three million people in the U.S. alone! That number is projected to skyrocket to 4.2 million by 2030 – an increase of 58 percent.
But glaucoma does not have to lead to blindness.
An annual comprehensive dilated eye exam can help catch glaucoma and other eye diseases early on. Especially if family members have had problems with vision health, protecting your eyes by avoiding smoking, maintaining a healthy weight, controlling your blood pressure, and being physically active will all positively maintain your eye wellness.
Thanks to modern nutrition, many things can help keep from further eye damage. A wholesome diet based fruits and vegetables with higher vitamin A and C content like collard greens, cabbage, kale, spinach, brussels sprouts, celery, carrots, peaches, radishes, green beans, and beets, can go a long way. Also, specific nutritional deficiencies are addressed with supplements that include vitamins A, B-complex, C, and E as well as the minerals Magnesium, Calcium, and Zinc.
Things to know
- Age – The older you are, the higher you are at risk (especially if over 60 years old).
- Race/Ethnicity –
- African-Americans age 40+ are 4-5x more likely to have glaucoma than others.
- Hispanic/Latinos have an increased risk for glaucoma as they age.
- Those of Asian and Native American descent have a risk for angle-closure glaucoma.
- The prevalence of pseudoexfoliation glaucoma was much higher in Caucasian Americans
- Medical History – You are at risk if you have a history of high pressure in your eyes, previous eye injury, long term steroid use, or nearsightedness.