The 2019 World Glaucoma Week runs from Sunday, March 10th to Saturday, March 16th. World Glaucoma Week is an excellent time to sit and contemplate your current eye care routine, any lingering problems or warning signs, and what you can do to protect yourself from glaucoma. Are you at risk for glaucoma? What role does genetics play? Does ethnicity factor in? Finding the answers to these questions can help you determine the best steps to take. Glaucoma is “a disease in which the optic nerve becomes damaged. This is most often caused by an elevated pressure inside the eye (intraocular pressure) due to the build up of a liquid substance called the aqueous humor.”
It is the leading cause of blindness among African-Americans and the leading cause of blindness among all Americans over 60 years old. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, here are a handful of risk factors that make glaucoma more likely. If you identify with any of the following, you should be on alert about glaucoma:
- Over 40 years old
- Family members with glaucoma
- African, Hispanic, or Asian heritage
- High eye pressure
- Farsighted or nearsighted
- Eye injuries
- Long-term steroid medication use
- Corneas that are thin in the center
- Thinning optic nerve
- High blood pressure
If you identify with any of the above risk factors, you might be wondering, “What can I do about this?” If you fear that you have signs of glaucoma, the only sure way to get a clear diagnosis is to schedule a complete eye exam with your vision care provider. In fact, the best way to observe World Glaucoma Week may be to schedule your next comprehensive eye exam. If it’s been a while since your last exam, it’s time to refocus on your vision health. The best way to protect yourself against glaucoma and other conditions is to maintain a relationship with your eye care provider, getting regular exams.
Eye exams can detect all sorts of conditions, including those that don’t pertain solely to your eyes. Seeing your eye doctor regularly is a vital part of your overall healthcare routine. Take advantage of World Glaucoma Week and use it as an opportunity to refocus on your vision health.