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January is Glaucoma Awareness Month, a vital period for spreading knowledge about one of the leading causes of irreversible blindness worldwide. At Newsom Eye, we are dedicated to raising awareness about this “silent thief of sight” that affects over 3 million people in the United States but goes undetected in many until it’s too late. Early detection, timely treatment, and regular monitoring can prevent significant vision loss and improve the quality of life for those affected.

Understanding Glaucoma

Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases that progressively damage the optic nerve, often associated with an unhealthy increase in intraocular pressure (IOP). Without proper treatment, glaucoma can lead to permanent damage of the optic nerve and resultant vision loss, starting with peripheral vision and potentially leading to total blindness. Because early stages of glaucoma typically don’t present symptoms, it’s essential to have regular eye examinations that include measurements of eye pressure.

Types of Glaucoma

There are several types of glaucoma, but the two most common are:

  • Open-Angle Glaucoma: The most common form, characterized by a gradual clogging of the drainage canals resulting in increased eye pressure. It develops slowly and is a lifelong condition.
  • Angle-Closure Glaucoma: This type is less common and is a medical emergency. It is characterized by a sudden blockage of drainage canals, resulting in a rapid increase in intraocular pressure.

Risk Factors

While anyone can develop glaucoma, certain factors can increase your risk:

  • Age: People over 60 are at increased risk, especially African Americans and Hispanics.
  • Ethnicity: African Americans and people of Hispanic descent are significantly more at risk than Caucasians.
  • Family History: Having a family history of glaucoma increases your risk.
  • Medical Conditions: People with diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease are more likely to develop glaucoma.

Prevention and Treatment

While there is no cure for glaucoma, early detection can significantly help manage the condition and slow the progression of vision loss. Treatment options include:

  • Medications: Eye drops are often the first line of defense in reducing the pressure in the eyes.
  • Laser Treatment: Laser therapy can help improve the flow of fluid out of the eye, reducing pressure.
  • Surgery: In cases where medication and laser treatments are not sufficient, surgery may be necessary to create a new drainage path.

Why Awareness Matters

Glaucoma Awareness Month in January is an opportunity to inform the public about the disease and encourage preventative measures. Regular eye exams are crucial, especially if you are at higher risk. At Newsom Eye, we provide comprehensive glaucoma screening and management services across our locations in Florida, including Tampa, Sebring, Carrollwood, South Tampa, Clearwater, Brooksville, and Gainesville.

Join Us in Raising Awareness

We invite you to join us at Newsom Eye in raising awareness about glaucoma this January. By spreading the word, scheduling regular eye exams, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle, you can help combat this silent thief of sight. For more information or to schedule a consultation, visit us at any of our locations or online.

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