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7 Facts You Should Know About Glaucoma

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We all know why we need to wear sunglasses and sunscreen in the summer. Winter, however, can be deceiving. It's an illusion to assume that we are safe from sunburns during the colder season.

Snow acts as a powerful mirror for sunlight and magnifies the effects of UV rays which would otherwise be absorbed by the ground. As a result, the eyes are exposed to both the UV radiation bouncing back from the snowy carpet and the rays shining down directly from the sun.





If your family is skiing or snowboarding up in the mountains, you need to be even more careful! UV rays are more powerful at higher altitudes. Another important factor to remember is that ultraviolet radiation penetrates through clouds, so even if the sun is hidden behind them, it can still damage your eyes.

Prevent overexposure to sunlight by wearing sunglasses that absorb at least 95% of ultraviolet radiation when you go outside, no matter what time of year it is. Even though you want to look great in your shades, the most important part of choosing sunglasses is making sure they provide adequate protection against UV. Make sure the lenses are 100% UV blocking by looking for an indication that they block all light up to 400 nanometers - UV400. The good news is you don't necessarily have to pay more for full coverage for your eyes. Dozens of reasonably priced options exist that still provide total ultraviolet protection.

Another important factor in selecting sun wear is the size of the lenses. You want to make sure your glasses cover as much of the area around your eyes as possible. The more coverage you have, the less harmful radiation will be able to penetrate. Lenses that wrap around the temples will also prevent UV waves from entering from the sides.

If you like to ski or frolic in the snowy hills, you should be aware that the sun's rays are stronger at higher elevations, so you need to be especially careful to keep your eyes shaded on the slopes. In addition to sunglasses, it's a good idea to put on a wide brimmed hat that covers your eyes.

Make a point to be knowledgeable about proper eye protection throughout the year. Don't forget to wear your sunglasses.

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7 Facts You Should Know About Glaucoma

Glaucoma, which refers to a group of eye diseases that damage the optic nerve, is often called 'the silent thief of sight'. This nickname evolved because the disease creeps up unnoticed in its early stages, causing no pain and few, if any symptoms. However, if left untreated it is progressive and irreversible and ultimately leads to blindness, usually affecting peripheral vision first.

Here are 7 important facts you should know about glaucoma:

  1. According to the National Eye Institute of the National Institute of Health, more than 4 million people in the United States have glaucoma. (http://www.nei.nih.gov/news/briefs/glaucoma_awareness.asp)
  2. Glaucoma causes damage to the optic nerve (the nerve that connects the eyes and the brain) usually as a result of increased pressure in the eye.
  3. Early stages of the disease diminish peripheral vision. If the disease is not controlled, glaucoma often eventually causes total blindness.
  4. The best way to detect glaucoma is through a dilated eye exam. The eye doctor views the optic nerve for signs of glaucoma. Intraocular pressure (IOP) is also measured, although this measurement is not enough to determine glaucoma, as it can fluctuate even throughout the day, and it is possible to have glaucoma even if IOP falls within the normal range, or to have high pressure without glaucoma. If the disease is suspected, further testing will be done, which may include visual field tests and digital retinal scanning.
  5. Anyone can get glaucoma but you are at increased risk for developing glaucoma if you have the following risk factors:
    • over 40
    • diabetes
    • high blood pressure
    • African American or Hispanic descent
    • family history of the disease
  6. Glaucoma can be controlled through a variety of approaches designed to lower and control pressure build up in your eye.
    • Treatment can involve the use of medicated eye drops.
    • Laser procedures and minor surgical procedures can be used depending on the type and stage of glaucoma.
  7. The best way to prevent vision loss from glaucoma is through early diagnosis so make sure to schedule a complete eye exam with your eye care professional at least once a year.

Don’t be the next victim of the silent thief of sight.  Speak to your eye doctor about your risk of glaucoma today.