Preventing Glaucoma-Related Vision Loss
January 9, 2020
Tips from Lighthouse Guild for January Glaucoma Awareness Month
Over 3 million Americans have glaucoma. It is the second leading cause of blindness worldwide and has been called the “silent thief of sight” because there are often no early symptoms. However, the good news is that glaucoma can be treated. The key is early diagnosis.
Many people experience difficulties with their vision as they get older. They may have issues with reading, driving at night, bright lights/glare, peripheral vision, and walking due to the inability to see curbs and steps. However, this should not be ignored. Only an eye care professional can determine if these symptoms are related to glaucoma or other eye conditions and begin treatments to protect vision.
The only way to diagnose glaucoma is by having a comprehensive dilated eye exam that can detect the disease in its early stages, allowing people to get treatments that can slow or prevent vision loss. Treatments for glaucoma include prescription eye drops, laser treatment, and surgery.
Dr. Andrea Zimmerman, a low vision specialist at Lighthouse Guild says, “Regular eye exams are the first step in protecting eyes from glaucoma and other eye disorders. Glaucoma cannot be prevented or cured, but it is treatable and does not have to lead to blindness. Early intervention can safeguard vision.”
She also points out that anyone with or without glaucoma who experiences sudden vision changes or intense eye pain should see their doctor or go to an emergency room immediately.
Glaucoma damages the optic nerve in the back of the eye. It can occur in one or both eyes. In its early stages, glaucoma does not usually have any symptoms. Many people do not even know they have it because their vision is changing so slowly. Difficulties with peripheral vision may be the first symptom they notice. Without treatment, glaucoma can eventually cause blindness.
People with a family history, older people, and people with poorly controlled high blood pressure and diabetes are at increased risk. They should speak with their eye care professional about their risk and ask how often they need to have their eyes checked.
Dr. Zimmerman says, “For those who already have vision loss due to glaucoma, or other eye diseases, vision rehabilitation can improve quality of life and the ability to perform daily tasks.”
About Lighthouse Guild
Lighthouse Guild is the leading organization dedicated to addressing and preventing vision loss. We provide coordinated care for eye health, vision rehabilitation and behavioral health as well as related services directed at prevention, early detection and intervention of vision disorders. Reducing the burdens of vision loss is the cornerstone of what we do. For more information, visit lighthouseguild.org.
Press Contact: Bryan Dotson, Manners Dotson Group,