January is Glaucoma Awareness Month. With an estimated 3 million people in the United States living with glaucoma, this is a good time to be educated about glaucoma and how to test for it. Glaucoma is an eye condition that primarily affects the optic nerve. This is an aggressive condition where symptoms typically worsen, and in most cases, will result in total or permanent blindness. The condition may progress slowly, but the vision loss can set in within a few years after the initial symptoms begin.
Persons over the age of 40, those with a family history of glaucoma and those with poor vision or health conditions like diabetes, high blood reassure or heart disease may be at a higher risk of glaucoma. If you’ve suffered an eye injury, or have suffered serious eye infections, you may be more susceptible to glaucoma. Certain medications like steroids may also place you at a higher risk of this condition.
Symptoms can include seeing halos around objects, poor vision, redness or eye pain. If you experience these symptoms, talk to an ophthalmologist and get tested for glaucoma. Tests for these conditions can include a tonometry test, a dilated eye exam in which the doctor will dilated your pupil to see the optic nerve, epically the colour and shape in detail, and a vision field test that maps your field of vision.