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Heighten Your Awareness of Glaucoma this Month


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.

As January is National Glaucoma Awareness Month, this post is intended to spread the word about the importance of early diagnosis of this vision threatening disease. Glaucoma is a class of progressive eye disorders that cause damage to the optic nerve, which may lead to blindness. If not treated, glaucoma often first shows up as peripheral vision loss and ultimately ends up causing total blindness. Glaucoma is the leading cause of avoidable vision loss and, according to estimates, over sixty million people around the world have it.

The primary cause of glaucoma is considered to be elevated pressure in the eye. The increase in pressure around the eye damages the optic nerve which transports messages from the eye to the vision centers in the brain. When this pathway doesn't work properly, eyesight is impaired. At the current time, damage to the optic nerve is typically irreversible.

The most threatening thing about glaucoma is that unlike other causes of vision loss, there are no signs that indicate the progression of the condition until it may be too late.
It is for this reason that glaucoma is often called the "sneak thief of sight." The problem is, is it possible to prevent a condition which is asymptomatic?

Prompt detection of the disease is necessary for effective management. While glaucoma risk is universal, specific groups have a higher risk than others. Major risk factors for glaucoma can include adults over 45, individuals with family members who have had glaucoma, individuals with diabetes, or other eye conditions such as myopia, hyperopia, eye injuries or high intraocular pressure.

There are several different types of glaucoma such as open-angle or closed angle glaucomas. The condition usually affects both eyes, but the disease has been known to progress more rapidly in one of the eyes.

The best way to detect glaucoma is to contact an eye doctor. There are several diagnostic eye examinations used to measure damage to the ocular nerves caused by glaucoma. Particularly if you are over 45 or have one of the other risk factors named above, make sure to schedule a comprehensive eye exam on an annual basis.

Unfortunately for the most part glaucoma is not preventable. Nevertheless the loss of sight caused by damage to the optic nerve may be slowed by early diagnosis and quick treatment. Don't delay! Contact Galbrecht Eye Care now, for a yearly glaucoma screening.