The Silent Thief of Sight
When you hear the word “Glaucoma”, what you think of? Do you immediately see images of an elderly patient in big, dark sunglasses? Or are you the funny guy who hears that word and uses the opportunity to make a joke about needing a prescription for marijuana? Seeing as January is “Glaucoma Awareness Month”… what, you didn’t know that?! (insert sarcasm:) I thought I would use my blog post to give some facts about glaucoma, bust a few myths and hopefully help everyone understand this ocular disease a little better.
- Fact #1 Glaucoma affects a structure in the back of your eye, in the retina, called the optic nerve. The optic nerve is what communicates between the eye and the brain.
- Myth Bust – Glaucoma does not just affect elderly patients. Glaucoma can affect anyone. The good news is, signs of glaucoma would be found during a routine vision exam.
- Fact #2 Glaucoma is scary because it is very slowly progressing and sometimes patients do not know they have the condition until permanent damage to the eye has been done. This is why Glaucoma is called the “Silent Thief of Sight”.
- Fact #3 Glaucoma is normally associated with higher than normal pressure inside of the eye and is treated with pressure lowering eye drops or glaucoma surgery.
- Myth Bust – Marijuana is not a main treatment option for Glaucoma. The idea that marijuana lowers eye pressure dates back to the 1970’s. And although a patient’s eye pressure was lower, it was lowered by a very small amount and for a very short amount of time. Because eye pressure needs to be regulated throughout a 24 hour period, prescription eye drops or glaucoma surgery are the front line treatment.
- Fact #4 Damage from Glaucoma is seen initially as a loss to your side or peripheral vision but can eventually lead to blindness.
Doesn’t this make you feel great to know a little bit more about Glaucoma? Knowing more about the “Silent Thief of Sight” will prevent Glaucoma from sneaking up on you!
Happy Glaucoma Awareness Month! *Dr. Lynch