National Glaucoma Awareness Month: Understanding the Silent Thief of Sight
By Graham R. Stetson, OD, MS
Imagine a high-quality camera, a powerful computer, and a USB cable that is damaged. How well do you think the pictures from your camera are going to transfer to the computer? Similarly, glaucoma is a condition where there is damage to your optic nerve (USB cable connecting your eye/camera to the rest of your brain/computer) because the pressure in your eye is higher than is healthy.
You might think that you would notice if your eye pressure is too high or if you are losing vision, but high eye pressure is undetectable without an eye exam.
The loss of vision is also something that you won’t notice until that loss is significant. This is because vision loss caused by glaucoma is slow and occurs first in the area where the vision of the two eyes overlaps.
The good news is that glaucoma is a very manageable condition. With appropriate treatment and monitoring, your vision can be maintained essentially indefinitely.
There are a few things that you can do to ensure early detection of glaucoma:
1. Have your eyes examined regularly: Even if your eyes seem fine, it’s essential to visit your eye doctor regularly. Those over 65 should be examined annually, and those from 18 to 65 without ocular disease or risk factors, every two years is acceptable.
2. Get informed: If you don’t understand something about our eyes, it’s okay to ask questions. Eyes are very complicated, so I take time to educate my patients. Your doctor is there to help, and the more you know, the better you can take care of our eyes.
3. Family Matters: Sometimes, glaucoma can run in families. If someone in your family has it, your chance of getting it may be a bit higher. Don’t worry – regular check-ups can catch it early and help keep your eyes healthy.
4. Relax: Stress can affect our eyes, and even raise our eye pressures, so it’s good to find ways to de-stress. Mindfulness meditation has been shown to be particularly effective.
Remember, our eyes are like an amazing camera providing an irreplaceable link to our world. Taking care of them means we get to see everything life has to offer. So, let’s be eye-wise and keep that vital connection in top shape!
For more advice or to schedule a comprehensive eye exam, call 781-352-4849 or come see us at 696 Washington Street in Norwood.
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