Posted on January 19th, 2017.

Over 3 million Americans, and over 60 million people worldwide, have glaucoma. It is the leading cause of vision loss in the United States.

Glaucoma is called “the sneak thief of sight” since there are no symptoms and once vision is lost, it is lost permanently. As much as 40% of vision can be lost without a person noticing.

Vision loss is caused by damage to the optic nerve. The optic nerve acts like an electric cable with over a million wires. It is responsible for carrying images from the eye to the brain. When the pressure within the eye becomes too great, there is stress on the optic nerve and it slowly begins to die.

Those at higher risk for glaucoma include people of African, Asian, and Hispanic descent. Other high-risk groups include: people over 60, family members of those already diagnosed, diabetics, and people who are severely nearsighted. Regular eye exams are especially important for those at higher risk for glaucoma, and may help to prevent unnecessary vision loss.

There is treatment for glaucoma. The important thing is to catch it early! Treatments for glaucoma include the use of eye drops, lasers, or sometimes surgery to help to reduce the pressure within the eye.

Glaucoma is the leading cause of preventable blindness. More than half of those who have glaucoma don’t know they have it. The best way to find out is to have a routine, regular eye examination. At Northwest Hills Eye Care, we check for glaucoma as a part of a routine eye exam. We have specialized machines to detect glaucoma and monitor it. Dr. Miller and Dr. Stola are both certified optometric glaucoma specialists which means that they are able to diagnose and treat glaucoma. Don’t lose your sight. Come in and see us!