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Home » What's New » Be Informed About Glaucoma

Be Informed 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.

In order to increase awareness about the ''sneak thief of sight,'' January has been named National Glaucoma Awareness Month. Glaucoma is the leading cause of avoidable blindness, responsible for 9%-12% of all cases of blindness in the United States and effecting nearly 70 million people around the world. Since glaucoma is initially asymptomatic, research shows that nearly half of those with the disease are not aware of their condition.

Glaucoma is the name for a group of eye diseases that have the common affect of causing damage to the eye's optic nerve, which is responsible for transmitting images to the brain. Although anyone can develop glaucoma, there are particular populations that are more likely to develop it such as African Americans over age 40, anyone over age 60, particularly of Mexican ancestry, and those with a family history of glaucoma.

Because vision loss due to optic nerve damage is irreversible, sight can only be preserved through early diagnosis. This is difficult however, because symptoms are often not present before optical nerve damage has occurred, and usually start with an irreparable loss of peripheral (side) vision.

Treatment for glaucoma is determined based on the disease characteristics and the amount of nerve damage, and may include medication (usually prescription eye drops) or surgery. While experts are working hard to find a cure, it has not yet been found and therefore early diagnosis and treatment are essential to prevent vision loss. Since glaucoma is a lifelong disease, it is preferable to find an eye care professional experienced in this condition.

According to a recent survey of the National Eye Institute of the NIH, while glaucoma was known to ninety percent of the people they surveyed, a mere eight percent knew that it has no early warning signs. Only a qualified eye doctor can identify the early effects of glaucoma, by means of a thorough eye exam. We recommend an annual eye exam as your best defense against this often over-looked disease. Contact us to schedule a glaucoma screening today.