May 2, 2017
May is Healthy Vision Month. The National Eye Institute encourages Americans to make their eye health a priority and take steps to protect their vision for a lifetime.
The Adair County Health Department will focus on Glaucoma detection during this year’s Healthy Vision Month.
Glaucoma is a group of diseases that can damage the eye’s optic nerve and result in vision loss and blindness because it affects the protective fluid around the eyes. Eyes have clear fluid that flows in and out of small space at the front of the eye called the anterior chamber. This fluid bathes and nourishes nearby tissues. If this fluid drains too slowly, pressure builds up and damages the optic nerve. Though this buildup may lead to an increase in eye pressure, the effect of pressure on the optic nerve differs from person to person. Some people may get optic nerve damage at low pressure levels while others tolerate higher pressure levels.
At first, there are no symptoms. Vision stays normal, and there is no pain.
However, as the disease progresses, a person with glaucoma may notice his or her side vision gradually failing. That is, objects in front may still be seen clearly, but objects to the side may be missed. As the disease worsens, the field of vision narrows and blindness results.
Open-angle glaucoma is the most common form of the disease. Although open-angle glaucoma cannot be cured, it can usually be controlled. The most common treatments are as follows:
- Medications: These may be either in the form of eye drops or pills. Some drugs are designed to reduce pressure by slowing the flow of fluid into the eye. Others help to improve fluid drainage.For most people with glaucoma, regular use of medications will control the increased fluid pressure. But these drugs may stop working over time, or they may cause side effects. If a problem occurs, the eye care professional may select other drugs, change the dose, or suggest other ways to deal with the problem.
- Laser surgery: During laser surgery, a strong beam of light is focused on the part of the anterior chamber where the fluid leaves the eye. This surgery results in a series of small changes that make it easier for fluid to exit the eye. Over time, the effect of laser surgery may wear off. Patients who have this form of surgery may need to keep taking glaucoma drugs.
- Surgery: Surgery can also help fluid escape from the eye and thereby reduce the pressure. However, surgery is usually reserved for patients whose pressure cannot be controlled with eye drops, pills, or laser surgery.
Glaucoma is one of the main causes of blindness in the United States. However, with early treatment, you can often protect your eyes against serious vision loss.
Therefore it is very important that it be diagnosed.
The Health Department and the MO Rehabilitation Services for the Blind will be offering a free Glaucoma screening on Wednesday June 14, 2017 at the Adair County Health Department from 8:30 am – 3:30 pm.
It’s simple. It’s free. It only takes a minute. Take the time to prevent blindness.