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Don’t buy into these sight-threatening misconceptions about glaucoma

May 13, 2014

The wealth of information we have available these days can make it seem like the sky’s the limit on knowledge, but it also means the odds of discovering misinformation are higher than ever. To make sure you’re as equipped as possible to keep your eyes healthy, we wanted to set the record straight when it comes to misconceptions about glaucoma. A big “Thank you!” to Mile Brujic, O.D., from Premier Vision Group in Ohio, for his input!

Reminder: glaucoma is an eye condition where the optic nerve becomes damaged as a result of increased pressure in the eye. This ultimately causes a gradual, but serious, loss of vision. If left untreated, this disease can result in complete blindness.

I would know if I had glaucoma because my eyes would hurt.

Glaucoma is known as the “silent thief of sight” for a reason; you don’t feel it until it’s already taken a serious toll on your eyes. Dr. Brujic comments, “Although glaucoma is a result of pressure in the eye, that doesn’t mean it’s pressure you can feel. The only way to diagnose early glaucoma is by a comprehensive, dilated eye exam .” Your eye doctor may determine that additional tests are needed based on your risk factors and annual eye exam findings.

I have great vision, so I couldn’t have glaucoma.

“Even people with 20/20 vision can have glaucoma because it affects the peripheral vision first and then moves inward where your 20/20 vision lies,” says Dr. Brujic. “In its advanced stages, glaucoma starts to affect central vision, so it’s important to identify the warning signs of glaucoma before too much damage sets in.” Your optometrist can suggest treatments and ways to prevent further vision loss.

Only elderly people get glaucoma.

Dr. Brujic explains: “Although glaucoma is more common in those who are 50 and older, newborns, young children and even adolescents can suffer from it. Those in the high-risk category—individuals with diabetes , migraines, myopia, high blood pressure, a family history of glaucoma, and/or a past or present use of steroids—are six times more likely to suffer from glaucoma and may begin to develop the disease in their 40s (or younger).”

Glaucoma inevitably leads to blindness.

“According to The American Glaucoma Foundation, 90 percent of all glaucoma-related blindness could have been prevented with proper treatment,” comments Dr. Brujic. “In fact, glaucoma is the leading cause of preventable blindness. However, the damage it inflicts is not reversible. Treatments can only slow or prevent further vision loss.”

If you think you are experiencing symptoms of glaucoma , visit your eye care doctor (Optometrist) for a comprehensive eye exam.

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