As we ring in the new year, we also have a chance to shine a light on glaucoma through National Glaucoma Awareness Month. This is the ideal time to spread the word about this disease that steals sight from over three million people in the United States alone. Glaucoma is called “The Sneak Thief Of Night”. It is called this because it can take more than forty percent of a person’s sight before they notice a change. There are no symptoms of glaucoma until it takes your sight, which is another reason for the name. Once your sight is gone, it is permanent and cannot be reversed.
Glaucoma is the leading cause of preventable blindness in the United States. This disease is also more prevalent in African American and Latino populations and is about six to eight times more common than in caucasians. Including the estimated three million in the United States, there is around sixty million people worldwide! Some experts have estimated that around half of those people are unaware of their disease. This means that, unless people are educated on the dangers of this disease and the preventative measures to take, there is a chance of a blindness epidemic.
There are many ways to support the cause for this month. The first way is to schedule an eye exam and make sure that you get them regularly! You can also encourage your friends and family to do the same and talk to them about the dangers of glaucoma. You can even get involved in your community by holding a fundraiser or community event to spread the word even more. If you have glaucoma you can share your story with your friends, at events, and on social media. Just because glaucoma is silent doesn’t mean we have to be too!