Takes Sight Without Warning
(ARA) - Glaucoma affects the eyes gradually and usually without pain. Because the disease has no warning signs or symptoms, the American Optometric Association (AOA) recommends scheduling regular, comprehensive eye exams as the best defense against this vision-threatening disease.
The optic nerve carries visual information from the eye to the brain. Glaucoma occurs when optic nerve cells begin to degenerate. As the nerve cells die, vision is slowly lost, usually beginning in the side, or peripheral, vision. The concern with glaucoma is that without symptoms, vision loss can occur before an individual notices any changes in vision.
A cure does not exist; however, early detection is the key to controlling the disease. Medicare patients at high risk for glaucoma can receive dilated eye examinations as a benefit of Medicare coverage. The AOA provides a Glaucoma/Diabetes Hotline program which matches patients with a participating optometrist in their area; contact the Hotline at (800) 262-3947.
It is estimated that 3 million Americans have glaucoma and one-half of that population is unaware that they have it. African Americans over age 40, everyone over age 60, and individuals with a family history of glaucoma are at risk.
If you or a loved one have not had a comprehensive eye exam in over a year, or are at high risk for developing glaucoma, make an appointment with your eye care professional today. It could be the most important appointment you put on your new calendar. For more information, please visit www.aoa.org.
Courtesy of ARA Content
EDITOR’S NOTE: The American Optometric Association, founded in 1898, represents more than 34,000 doctors of optometry, optometry students and paraoptometric assistants and technicians in more than 7,000 communities across the country. Optometrists examine, diagnose, treat and manage diseases and disorders of the visual system, the eye and associated structures as well as diagnose related systemic conditions. The mission of the profession of optometry is to fulfill the vision and eye care needs of the public through clinical care, research and education, all of which enhance the quality of life of patients.