Glaucoma is the leading cause of blindness in the country, accounting for 9-12% of all cases. This Glaucoma Awareness Month, we’re dispelling common myths about the disease, so you can better protect your vision, receive treatment to delay the disease’s progression, and maintain healthy eyes and vision for life.
Myth #1: If you don’t have symptoms, you can’t have glaucoma.
According to research published in JAMA Ophthalmology, of the over 3 million Americans who have glaucoma, only half of those people know that they have it. For sufferers with the most common form of the disease, open-angle glaucoma, there are very few noticeable symptoms in earlier stages. By the time many patients realize that they are experiencing vision loss, they are often in more advanced stages, so preventative care and regular visits to an ophthalmologist are key.
Myth #2: Only older people are at risk for developing glaucoma.
This myth lulls potential sufferers into a false sense of safety. Unfortunately, everyone can develop glaucoma. While it is true that those in advanced ages bear a higher risk for the disease, younger people, especially African Americans, can also develop glaucoma.
Myth #3: Having elevated eye pressure means you will always develop glaucoma.
Elevated eye pressure is a risk factor for developing glaucoma, but some types of glaucoma occur without high eye pressure. Similarly, not everyone with high eye pressure will develop glaucoma. Obtaining treatment for high eye pressure can decrease your risk of developing glaucoma, so take any treatments prescribed by your ophthalmologist, like eye drops, seriously.
Myth #4: Since there is no cure, patients do not have to monitor for the disease or seek treatment.
While there is no cure for glaucoma, patients should still visit their ophthalmologist annually to screen for the disease and its warning signs. By being proactive, sufferers of glaucoma can delay the process of vision deterioration and protect against vision loss. Those with elevated risk factors should be especially diligent to stay on top of eye health.
Ready for Your Next Appointment?
By proactively visiting your ophthalmologist for comprehensive eye exams, you can protect your vision and eye health. If you are interested in scheduling an appointment, call us today at our Cranford and Westfield offices. Our friendly staff is happy to answer any questions you may have and help you maintain lifelong vision.