5 Things you should know about GLAUCOMA

Jan. 17, 2014

January is “National Glaucoma Awareness Month”

Glaucoma is a leading cause of blindness in the U.S., affecting more than four million Americans of all ages and races. But loss of sight may be preventable—if you educate yourself about the latest advances in detection and treatment.
1. How does glaucoma affect vision?
“Glaucoma is a condition in which fluid pressure in the eye affects the optic nerve, thus damaging how visual information is carried from the retina to the brain. Left untreated, it first causes loss of side vision and eventually all sight—permanently. The most common type is painless and progresses so slowly that most people don't notice symptoms for years—until severe permanent damage has occurred,” explains Mark Freedman, MD, a partner at Eye Care Specialists, a leading local ophthalmology practice that cares for tens of thousands of glaucoma patients.

2. What are the risk factors?
Dr. Brett Rhode, Head of Ophthalmology at Aurora Sinai Medical Center, lists the following risk factors for glaucoma:
 Age: Glaucoma is most common in adults over age 40, and the risk increases with each decade. Regular screenings should start at this time.
 Heredity: If you have a sibling or parent with glaucoma, your risk of developing the disease increases 5 to 10 times. As such, relatives of glaucoma patients should have their eyes checked every 1-2 years.
 Ethnicity: A black person has a 6-8 times higher risk of going blind from glaucoma than a white person. Hispanics and Asians also have a higher risk rate.
 Other factors: Nearsightedness, diabetes (doubles the risk of glaucoma), steroid use, and having a previous eye injury.

3. How is glaucoma detected?
Daniel Ferguson, MD, an eye surgeon who performs advanced drainage implant procedures to alleviate glaucoma-related eye pressure, advises, “Since glaucoma and other sight-threatening conditions often don’t exhibit early symptoms, regular eye exams are vital after age 40.” A comprehensive exam should include: Ophthalmoscopy (a look inside at the back of the eye to check for signs of glaucoma like abnormal optic nerve size and loss of pink coloring), Tonometry (a check of inner eye pressure done either with a puff of air or by painlessly touching the eye), Visual Field Testing (to create a “map” of the range of existing sight), Gonioscopy (to see if the drainage angle of the eye is open or closed), and an OCT laser scan (to diagnose, track and treat changes to the optic nerve and retina—often before damage occurs).

4. What effect can glaucoma have on your life?
“According to one study, glaucoma patients 50 and older were three times as likely to have experienced a fall in the previous year and six times as likely to have been involved in a car accident in the previous five years as were members of control groups. They were also more likely to be at fault when a collision did occur. Why? Because glaucoma can damage the optic nerve, which may lead to potentially dangerous narrowing of the visual field or ‘tunnel vision,’” explains Harvard graduate and corneal specialist Daniel Paskowitz, MD, PhD.

5. How is glaucoma treated?
Ophthalmologist Michael Raciti, MD, notes, “Glaucoma can’t be cured, but treatment can usually halt further damage. We typically prescribe drops to control fluid pressure. For some patients, however, laser treatment (SLT or ECP) may be a more effective alternative. These 10-minute procedures are covered by Medicare and most insurance plans. And, if successful in achieving steady normal pressures, they can reduce the burden of buying, taking and tracking daily glaucoma drops.”



FREE Booklets & Information
Prompt diagnosis and treatment are vital to protecting and preserving vision. Encourage your siblings and other family members to be checked for glaucoma, especially if one of you has the disease. If you do not have an eye care specialist, call 414-321-7035 for a free educational booklet on glaucoma and information about scheduling a comprehensive screening ( typically covered by Medicare and most insurances) at their offices on 7th & Wisconsin Avenue, Mayfair Road across from the mall, or 102nd & National Ave.). They also offer detailed educational information at www.eyecarespecialists.net.
 

This site uses Facebook comments to make it easier for you to contribute. If you see a comment you would like to flag for spam or abuse, click the "x" in the upper right of it. By posting, you agree to our Terms of Use.

Suburban News Roundup

E-mail Newsletter

Your link to the biggest stories in the suburbs delivered Thursday mornings.


Enter your e-mail address above and click "Sign Up Now!" to begin receiving your e-mail newsletter
Get the Newsletter!

Login or Register to manage all your newsletter preferences.

Community Watch

» Senior citizens invited to dinner and a show at Whitnall High School 2/11

» What residents in Southeast Wisconsin need to know to prevent the spread of Zika virus Updated:  2/11

» West Allis might hold meeting to help drivers find alternate routes 2/9

» Greenfield city, schools on verge of shared fiber optics for Internet 2/9

» Greenfield schools to get safety improvements thanks to $150,000 grant 2/9

» Greenfield parents may get cost break on child care at schools 2/9

» Updated rankings of area prep boys and girls basketball teams and players 2/8

» West Allis Central High School students respond calmly during bomb-threat evacuation Updated:  2/4

» West Allis schools to start trek back to neighborhood schools in fall Updated:  2/3

» Data skimmers found on several ATMs in West Allis, police warn 2/2

» West Allis schools to leave SAGE, open more seats for nonresidents 2/2

» Positive and uplifting stories in suburban Milwaukee and Lake Country in January 2/1

» Milwaukee Co. launches coyote tracking program in Tosa, West Allis 1/28

» Greenfield park on list of parks not protected from unilateral sale 1/27

» More city spending pitched for West Allis development area 1/27

» Greenfield resident robbed on his doorstep 1/26

» Some school transfer relief suggested for West Allis School District 1/26

» Ex-cop pleads guilty to choking woman in sex encounter, hiding body in suitcase Updated:  1/25

» St. John the Evangelist School to host two open house events 1/22

» Crawdaddy's plans to open on Fat Tuesday in West Allis Updated:  1/21

» Initial Reaction Podcast: Was Jonathan Lucroy speaking the truth or speaking too much? 1/21

» Greenfield man presumed to have drowned in Fox River 1/20

» Garage destroyed, West Allis home damaged by fire, family of 6 escapes 1/19

» Milwaukee Bucks Rim Rockers to perform at Whitnall Falcons halftime show 1/19

» West Allis Next Generation elementary school won't expand to 8th grade 1/19

View All Posts Got a tip? Welcome rss

Advertisement

Advertisement

Election center 2016

Election overage from from the MyCommunityNow coverage area covering suburban Milwaukee County and the eastern half of Waukesha County.

Suburban Milwaukee election center 2016

Local Business Directory

CONNECT    

Advertisement