January Is Glaucoma Awareness Month

Date Posted: 01/07/2019

by Steve Kelley, CVRT

glaucoma simulation

Caption: Glaucoma Simulation

You may be losing your vision as you read this. You will not know you have glaucoma, without a glaucoma screening from an ophthalmologist, until you notice an irreversible vision loss. If you are: over the age of 65; very near sighted; diabetic; African-American, you are at a higher risk of developing glaucoma.

January is Glaucoma Awareness Month, and also the month we make positive resolutions to ourselves. Really, when was the last time you had a comprehensive eye exam (which would include a glaucoma screening)?

Glaucoma is called the, "Silent Thief of Sight" because you will not notice or feel the onset of glaucoma, which begins with an elevation of the intraocular. Over time, if unchecked, this elevated pressure will cause damage to the optic nerve, resulting in irreversible vision loss. Vision loss from glaucoma often begins at the peripheral vision (extreme left or right, top or bottom), and for this reason may not be noticed until a significant amount of vision is lost.

If diagnosed early, glaucoma is manageable with medication or minor surgery, and vision loss can be prevented or postponed.

What will it cost you to save your vision from glaucoma? If you don't have insurance, in some locations, you can get a comprehensive, dilated eye exam for $75-$125 and there are some resources (see below) to help with the cost. How much is your eyesight worth to you and your family?

Resources for Eye Exams

Medicare may pay for an eye exam if you are in one of the high risk categories mentioned above.

EyeCare America (877-887-6327) can provide adults who are at high risk, or who have not seen an ophthalmologist for several years, an opportunity for a comprehensive eye exam at no out-of-pocket cost through their volunteer network of ophthalmologists!

Search for a Lions Club locally using the Lions Clubs Directory. Your local Lions Club may be able to direct you to local resources for eye care help.

For more comprehensive information about glaucoma see VisionAware’s Glaucoma section. If you’ve experienced a vision loss from glaucoma, be sure to locate a vision rehabilitation therapist near you for training on adapted daily living and employment skills.

This year’s resolution, "Make an appointment this month for a comprehensive eye exam with a glaucoma screening…no excuses."

It's also Braille Awareness month. Be sure to read, What does braille have to do with glaucoma?

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