Glaucoma Awareness Month Information

January is Glaucoma Awareness Month in the U.S., so our team at Reformed Church Home in Old Bridge, NJ, is taking the opportunity to inform prospective residents, current residents, and their families about glaucoma and eye health.

More than 3 million people in the U.S. have glaucoma, a number that’s projected to grow to 4.2 million by 2030. It’s the leading cause of vision loss and blindness in the U.S., which is why we’re focused on helping you detect it early or prevent it altogether. Here are some glaucoma facts to help you get started on glaucoma prevention and awareness.

What is glaucoma?

Glaucoma is an umbrella term for multiple diseases that damage the optic nerve in your eye, potentially leading to vision loss or blindness. The optic nerve connects the retina to the brain, carrying images along the path. If damaged, it can lead to partial or total vision loss.

Symptoms of glaucoma

When it first develops, glaucoma has no symptoms, making it difficult to notice. If it’s caught early, vision loss can be halted or delayed, keeping your vision relatively normal over time. If left untreated, however, glaucoma will slowly lead to vision loss. You’ll notice your peripheral vision decreasing, making it difficult to see things that aren’t directly in front of you. This vision loss can eventually progress to complete blindness, eliminating your central vision as well.

Who is affected by glaucoma?

Glaucoma typically affects middle-aged or elderly individuals, but it can affect people of any age. According to the National Eye Institute, those who are at a higher risk for glaucoma include African Americans over age 40, everyone over age 60, and people with a family history of the disease. Glaucoma is the leading cause of irreversible blindness and is more prevalent among African American and Latino populations than Caucasians.

Glaucoma treatment

There is no cure yet for glaucoma, with treatment instead focusing on slowing the progression of the diseases. If caught early on, however, the vision loss associated with glaucoma can be halted or slowed. Since glaucoma doesn’t have any noticeable symptoms at the beginning of the disease, it’s key to attend routine eye exams to catch signs of glaucoma early. During a comprehensive dilated eye exam, your optometrist or ophthalmologist will be able to detect signs of glaucoma before it actually impacts your field of vision.

Glaucoma prevention

Regular eye exams are currently the best method of preventing vision loss from glaucoma. Although there are no currently known ways of fully preventing glaucoma, catching the disease early can help prevent the progression of vision loss. In addition to regular eye exams, many eye care professionals recommend regular exercise and wearing protective eyewear to help contribute to overall eye health.

At Reformed Church Home in Old Bridge, NJ, we are dedicated to providing our residents and their families with thorough information about their health and wellness, including guidance on maintaining a healthy lifestyle and addressing diseases like glaucoma. Of course, you should consult with your primary care physician or specialists for medical advice on any health issues or concerns.

For more information, contact Andrea Walls, Director of Marketing at Reformed Church Home, at 732-607-9230 or awalls@rchnj.org.

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