January - #GlaucomaAwarenessMonth

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Happy New Year!

As we go into the new year, we just want to remind patients to make your eyes a priority in 2019! January is #NationalGlaucomaAwarenessMonth, so we’re joining Optometrists across the nation in continuing the conversation around Glaucoma - a sight stealing disease that affects millions of Americans. However, there is still hope for your eyes with proper diagnosis and treatment.

So you have heard of glaucoma, but did you know that early on, the disease doesn’t show any symptoms?

Glaucoma is class of eye diseases that damage the eye’s optic nerve, which can result in changes or loss of vision. However, with early detection (from yearly eye exams)  and treatments, you can help in protecting your eyes from progression of the disease.

At first, most forms of glaucoma have no symptoms. There is no pain and no changes in vision.  Glaucoma can develop in one or both eyes.

If left untreated, people with glaucoma will slowly lose their side vision and may start to miss objects to the side or out of the corner of their eye. Over time, without treatment, straight-ahead (central) vision may change, too, until no vision remains.

Did you know that anyone can develop glaucoma?

Yes, Anyone. Some people, listed below, are at higher risk than others:

  • African Americans over age 40

  • Everyone over age 60

  • People with a family history of glaucoma

A comprehensive dilated eye exam can reveal even more risk factors, such as high eye pressure, thinness of the cornea, and abnormal optic nerve structure, that make your eye doctor want to follow you more closely.

How can we help diagnose and monitor for glaucoma?

Illinois Eye Care Center & Image Optics are equipped not only with Doctors that specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of glaucoma, but the offices are also outfitted with the technology to do so. Beyond your standard vision test, eye pressure test, and pupil dilation, we will get a closer look at the integrity of the optic nerve with Optical Coherence Technology (OCT) and at your peripheral field of vision using a Visual Field machine. The OCT is a state-of-the-art instrument that works almost like an ultrasound but uses light waves rather than sound. As it non-invasively scans the tissue layers of the eye, we can get a clear and detailed images to diagnose and treat early on. The Visual Field allows the doctor to get an exact measurement of your side vision to make sure that, if glaucoma is present, we are able to preserve as much of your vision as we can.

How can we treat these diseases once they’ve started?

The damage done by glaucoma is often irreversible, but if you catch it early and are diligent with treatment, further loss of vision can often be kept at bay. Be sure to keep up with frequent visits to your eye doctor and continue using your glaucoma eye drops! Furthermore, speak with your family members and urge them to get their eyes checked as well.

Thankfully, IECC’s doctors are here to help diagnose & treat Glaucoma. Book an appointment if you think you might be at risk, or even if you’ve already been diagnosed.

Final Take Away:

If you have glaucoma or have a family history of glaucoma, don’t neglect your eyes! Most of the early symptoms of this disease go unnoticed. Come in for a comprehensive eye exam at least once a year and if you’ve already been diagnosed, even more frequently than that.

So let’s keep your vision clear and your eyes healthy this year! Illinois Eyecare Center & Image Optics is here to help keep your eyes healthy and continue to give them a future to look forward to.

Cindi Freiberg