Caring for Your Eyes through Glaucoma Awareness Month
Despite how often we use our eyes, it’s too easy for many of us to neglect their health. This January, it’s time to put your eye care in the spotlight. As National Glaucoma Awareness Month, it’s important to understand just how this serious condition can affect your sight, sometimes unexpectedly so. As of now, more than 3 million people in the United States have glaucoma, but there are ways that you can keep yourself out of the statistic.
Glaucoma: The Quiet Sight-Stealer
What’s the most dangerous thing about this condition? You may not even know you have it. Glaucoma exhibits no early symptoms, not until one is already in the advanced stages of it. You can lose as much as 40% of your vision without even noticing. Glaucoma leads to irreversible blindness, meaning once your vision is completely lost, it’s gone for good.
Glaucoma is not only common in America. Globally, around 60 million people are affected by it. It’s even estimated that half of them are unaware they have it. With our ever-growing aging population, deterioration of vision is becoming more common. According to the World Health Organization, nearly 4.5 million people have become blind due to the condition.
How Does Glaucoma Develop?
Glaucoma specifically damages the eye’s optic nerve – which is a bundle of over 1 million nerve fibers, connecting the retina to the brain. It’s been shown that eye pressure seems to be the major risk factor for optic nerve damage. Fluid builds inside the eye, straining the optic nerve. Blood pressure is also another risk factor. However, how much eyes can tolerate pressure varies from person to person. An eye care professional can help determine your normal level of eye pressure, as well as detect early signs of glaucoma and other eye health conditions.
How is Glaucoma Detected?
Because it has no symptoms, knowing whether you have glaucoma or not can be difficult. No pain is registered, and your vision stays normal. However, as the condition advances, you will slowly lose your peripheral vision, and start to miss things out of the corner of your eye. You will essentially gain a tunnel vision until eyesight is lost completely.
The best way to know if your eyes are suffering from the condition is to get a comprehensive eye exam. Glaucoma is detected through several tests, which include a visual acuity test (how well you see at certain distances), a visual field test (how well you see from your side vision), a dilated eye exam, (a dilation of your pupils to better examine your retina and optic nerve), tonometry (measuring the pressure of your eye), and pachymetry (measuring the thickness of your cornea).
Keep Your Eyes Protected Through Healthy Habits
In the United States alone, 120,000 people have become blind from glaucoma. While the numbers may seem grim, you can still keep your eyesight in the clear, even into old age. Getting regular eye exams are a must, so you can better detect early eye health problems. There are other additional preventative measures you can take as well; from exercising regularly, to cutting off unhealthy habits that may be hurting your eye health. Smoking, alcohol, and excessive caffeine intake all increase your eye’s pressure, which might increase the risk of developing glaucoma.
Getting the right nutrition that benefits the eyes is also important. Ocu-Max® by GardaVita® contains specific ingredients known for their positive impact on eye health, including lutein and zeaxanthin, a pair of natural carotenoids that fortifies the eye’s macula for stronger vision. It also contains vitamin C, gingko biloba and bilberry that support eye health and protect it from free radical damage.
It’s time to give your eyes the care they deserve. So make some changes this January for the sake of your sight, so that you can keep looking to the future clearly.