The Peninsula, the assisted living and memory support community in Hollywood, wants to bring awareness to glaucoma disease during January which is National Glaucoma Awareness Month.
Currently, more than 2.7 million people in the United States over age 40 have glaucoma. The National Eye Institute projects this number will reach 4.2 million by 2030, a 58 percent increase.
Glaucoma is called “the sneak thief of sight” since there are no symptoms and once vision is lost, it’s permanent. As much as 40% of vision can be lost without a person noticing.
Glaucoma is the leading cause of preventable blindness. Moreover, among African American and Latino populations, glaucoma is more prevalent. Glaucoma is 6 to 8 times more common in African Americans than Caucasians.
Over 2.7 million Americans, and over 60 million people worldwide, have glaucoma. Experts estimate that half of them don’t
know they have it. Combined with our aging population, we can see an epidemic of blindness looming if we don’t raise awareness about the importance of regular eye examinations to preserve vision.
During a comprehensive dilated eye exam, an eye care professional can see inside the eye to detect signs of glaucoma, such as subtle changes to the optic nerve, before any symptoms appear. This allows the eye care professional to determine if you have glaucoma or are at risk for it, to monitor your condition, to treat glaucoma as early as possible, and to look for other vision problems. Once symptoms appear, it may be too late to prevent vision loss and the progression to blindness.
If glaucoma is detected early, treatments such as eye drops or surgery can slow or stop vision loss. High pressures inside the eye, which may be associated with glaucoma, does not by itself mean that you have glaucoma. Only a comprehensive dilated eye exam and evaluation of the optic nerve by an eye care professional can tell you that.
At The Peninsula, we provide transportation to doctors in the area including eye doctors and assist with our residents with scheduling appointments.
We urge you and your family to have regular eye exams. It’s important to talk about this disease and understand that eye examinations can be the step in preserving one’s vision.
For more information about glaucoma, go to www.glaucoma.org.