Did you know that glaucoma is a leading cause of preventable vision loss and blindness in the United States? There are approximately 3 million people in the United States alone (60 million worldwide) who have glaucoma, with half of them not even knowing they have the disease. Of the 60 million people worldwide, 13% are blind. According to the National Eye Institute, the number of cases of glaucoma will increase almost 60% in the next 25 years.
What makes this disease a ‘sight-stealer’ is that many people don’t even know they have it since there are no symptoms in its early stages. In fact, a person could lose up to 40% of their vision without even noticing! Yes, almost half of a person’s eyesight could be lost and they would not know it. What’s worse is that once vision has been lost due to glaucoma, it cannot be restored.
Glaucoma tends to affect middle-aged and older adults, but it can affect people of all ages. Vision loss associated with this disease is irreversible because it damages the optic nerve, which is what is used to carry the images you see to the brain. It’s like fraying a power cable to your television; as more damage occurs, the picture gets worse. If the cable becomes completely frayed, you won’t get a signal at all.
Although there is currently no cure for glaucoma, it can be treated with medication or surgery to slow or prevent further vision loss. If caught early, a person might have little to no vision loss.
During National Glaucoma Awareness Month, we want to share a couple tips to help you avoid suffering from this preventable disease:
- Get Regular Eye Exams. A comprehensive eye exam can check for glaucoma. If a person receives regular eye exams, it is possible to catch this disease before it reduces eyesight.
- Know If You Are High Risk. According to the Glaucoma Research Foundation, you are at a higher risk of developing glaucoma if:
You are of African, Asian and Hispanic descent.
You have a family history of glaucoma.
You are a diabetic.
You are over 60 years old.
Glaucoma is not curable, but when caught early enough, it is treatable, which can prevent irreversible eyesight loss. Many people don’t know that this is could be an issue for them. But once you know, you can do something about it simply by getting a comprehensive eye exam on a regular basis.
At Assisting Hands® Home Care, our goal is to provide our clients with the help they need to keep them safely in their own home for longer. We also provide a respite for a family caregiver who needs a break from their caregiving duties or who can’t manage all those duties by themselves any longer. We can be there for your loved one whether they have physical or mental challenges.
Whether you need someone to be with your loved one during the day, in the evening or overnight, our at-home care can accommodate your needs. You will have peace of mind knowing that they aren’t home alone when they need help with medication, fall prevention, personal care, eating or other needs.