Look to early diagnosis and treatment for better glaucoma management, says American Optometric Association (AOA) during Glaucoma Awareness Month.
St. Louis-Recognizing January as Glaucoma Awareness Month, the American Optometric Association (AOA) urges consumers of all ages to take control of their eye health through early detection to help minimize the risk of developing glaucoma.
Although glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness in the U.S., public awareness surrounding the disease is relatively low, According to data from the AOA's latest American Eye-Q consumer survey:
Regular eye exams are the first line of defense for early detection of glaucoma, according to the AOA. Since the disease often strikes without pain or other symptoms, it is crucial for patients to receive a dilated eye exam where an optometrist can thoroughly examine the pressure and nerves for potential signs of the disease.
Americans are not aware of the factors that put them most at risk for developing glaucoma: 86% of American Eye-Q respondents are unaware that a person's race places them at a higher risk of developing glaucoma. According to the Glaucoma Research Foundation, glaucoma is six to eight times more common in African Americans than Caucasians. Other risk factors include those who have a family history of glaucoma, hypothyroidism, are over age 60, or individuals who have had severe eye trauma.