January is Glaucoma Awareness Month, and ophthalmologists at Mount Sinai New York Eye and Ear Nursing call on high-risk groups to have full eye exams for early detection of this degenerative eye disease.
Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of blindness in the United States and worldwide. The disease is known as the “silent vision thief” because he has no symptoms in the early stages. Approximately 3 million people over 40 have glaucoma, and half of those people don’t even know it. The disease damages the optic nerve when fluid accumulates in the front of the eye, which increases eye pressure. Peripheral or lateral vision gradually worsens without the patient noticing as the disease progresses to later stages. If it is not detected or treated, glaucoma can cause complete blindness. Glaucoma vision loss is irreversible.
Mount Sinai is at the forefront of glaucoma treatment. We have powerful new medications once a day that can dramatically reduce eye pressure. Some of the newest minimally invasive surgeries are exciting. In the future, there will even be a role for augmented intelligence software to help optimize the treatment. ”
Louis Pasquale, MD, director of ophthalmology at Mount Sinai and Mount Sinai Queens Hospital and vice president of translational ophthalmology research for the Mount Sinai health system
Facts about glaucoma
- It is estimated that 4 million people will have glaucoma by 2030 and 6 million will have it by 2050 (National Eye Institute).
- Glaucoma can affect everyone, from babies to the elderly.
- There are many types of glaucoma; Primary open angle glaucoma is the most common type.
- African-American and Latino populations have a greater tendency to develop primary open-angle glaucoma.
- People over 45 have the highest risk.
- Glaucoma often occurs in families and can be inherited.
- People with diabetes, myopia, regular steroid / cortisone use and extremely high or low blood pressure are also at risk.
- Early diagnosis is key to preventing vision loss.
- People under 40 must have a complete dilated eye exam every three to four years.
- People under 40 with risk factors should have their eyes checked every one or two years.
- Patients older than 40 years should have a complete exam every one or two years.
- All persons over 40 with risk factors should be examined annually.
- Patients older than 65 must have full annual exams.
- Since vision loss is irreversible, the goal is to control eye pressure from the beginning, using:
- Eye drops
- Laser surgery
- Eye operation
Mount Sinai Health System
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