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Glaucoma: Are You Losing Your Vision Without Knowing It?

Do any of these demographics apply to you?

  • Over the age of 65
  • Very nearsighted
  • African American
  • Diabetic

If yes, you are at a higher risk for developing glaucoma. Chances are, you won’t know you have glaucoma until you start noticing an irreversible vision loss, or your eye doctor notices an increase in the pressure of your eye.

When was the last time you had a comprehensive eye exam from an ophthalmologist that included a glaucoma screening?

January is Glaucoma Awareness Month. It’s also the time of year we make positive resolutions to ourselves. Add a glaucoma screening to this year’s list.

Glaucoma is called the, “Silent Thief of Sight,” because you won’t notice or feel the onset of glaucoma. It begins with an elevation of the pressure inside the eye. Over time, if unchecked, this elevated pressure will cause damage to the optic nerve, resulting in irreversible vision loss. Vision loss from glaucoma often begins at the peripheral vision (the extreme left, right, top or bottom of the visual field). Because the vision loss happens slowly at the extreme edges of our visual field, it may go unnoticed until there is a significant vision loss.

Here’s the good news about glaucoma, if diagnosed early, it is manageable with medication or minor surgery, and vision loss can be prevented or postponed. Consider this, a typical comprehensive eye exam, including a glaucoma screening, at an ophthalmologist in southern Maine costs $75-$125. How much is your eyesight worth to you and your family?

Here are some other resources for comprehensive eye exams.

  • Medicare may pay for an eye exam if you are in one of the high risk categories mentioned above.
  • EyeCare America (877-887-6327) can provide adults who are at high risk, or who have not seen an ophthalmologist for several years, an opportunity for a comprehensive eye exam at no out-of-pocket cost through their volunteer network of ophthalmologists!
  • Search for a Lions Club locally using the Lions Clubs Directory. Your local Lions Club may be able to direct you to local resources for eye care help.

For more comprehensive information about glaucoma see VisionAware’s Glaucoma section. According to data from Vision Serve Alliance, only 3% of the 25.5 million Americans with an age-related eye disease, like glaucoma, receive the vision rehabilitation services that will help them maintain their quality of life. If you’ve experienced a vision loss from glaucoma, be sure to locate a vision rehabilitation therapist near you for training on adapted daily living and employment skills.

This year’s resolution, “Make an appointment this month for a comprehensive eye exam that includes a glaucoma screening…no excuses.”

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