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Glaucoma - The Silent Thief of Sight

The word “glaucoma” sounds scary.  You may have heard of glaucoma, and you may even know one of the three million Americans who have it.  But do you really know what it is?


Glaucoma is an eye disease in which the optic nerve gets damaged.  Since the optic nerve is responsible for transmitting vision from the eye to the brain, damage to the optic nerve can result in loss of peripheral vision or even blindness.  This damage usually occurs slowly and painlessly, so there are few or no symptoms.  That is why glaucoma is labeled as “the silent thief of sight”. 


So glaucoma doesn’t just sound scary – it is scary!  Thankfully, we have tools that enable us to detect and diagnose glaucoma more effectively than in the past.  And, if a diagnosis of glaucoma is made, we have more treatment options available than ever before.  In fact, if glaucoma is caught early enough, the odds of significant vision loss are low. 


At every comprehensive eye exam, we screen patients for signs of glaucoma.  These can include elevated eye pressure, damaged optic nerves, and/or loss of peripheral vision.  If any of these are found on routine exam, more testing is performed to determine if glaucoma is present and, if so, at what stage.  Then, treatment is initiated – usually in the form of prescription eye drops – and the condition is monitored closely.  Again, if caught and treated early, the prognosis is usually very good. 


So don’t be scared of glaucoma.  Instead, be educated.  Know that yearly comprehensive eye exams are your best defense against glaucoma.  And if you have been diagnosed with glaucoma, follow your eye doctor’s recommendations for treatment and follow ups.  And rest assured that you’ll be protected from the “silent thief of sight”. 

 

Until next time,

 

Clint Taylor, OD         




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