Raising Awareness: Understanding Glaucoma During Healthy Vision Month

Posted on: May 20, 2024

In May we raise awareness on glaucoma as part of Healthy Vision Awareness Month. You may have heard glaucoma referenced as “the silent thief”, but what does that mean? While at Desert Retina Consultants our focus is on treating retinal conditions, we recognize the importance of eye health and spreading awareness on glaucoma, the leading cause of blindness worldwide.

So, what IS Glaucoma? It’s a group of eye diseases that damage the optic nerve, this is usually due to increased intraocular pressure. This damage can lead to gradual vision loss and, if left untreated, blindness. Understanding how glaucoma is diagnosed is crucial for early detection and intervention.

Diagnosing glaucoma involves several steps, including:

  • Comprehensive eye examination: This includes measuring intraocular pressure, reviewing the optic nerve, and evaluating the drainage angle of the eye.
  • Visual field testing: This test helps detect any loss of peripheral vision, a common early sign of glaucoma.
  • Optical coherence tomography (OCT): This imaging test provides detailed cross-sectional images of the optic nerve and retinal layers, aiding in the diagnosis and monitoring of glaucoma progression.

Glaucoma can affect individuals of all ages, but certain factors may increase the risk, including:

  • Age: The risk of glaucoma increases with age, particularly after the age of 60. 
  • Family history: Having a family member with glaucoma increases the likelihood of developing the condition. 
  • Ethnicity: People of African, Hispanic, or Asian descent are at higher risk. 
  • Medical conditions: Conditions like diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease may elevate the risk of glaucoma. 

While Desert Retina Consultants does not offer glaucoma treatment, we are committed to raising awareness about this condition and the importance of early detection. An annual eye exam is crucial for detecting glaucoma in its early stages when treatment is most effective.

We encourage all of our patients to continue their annual eye exams, and so that together we can maintain healthy eyes.